17 December 30, 2009

2009 is coming to an end. A new year is upon us. It has been a mixed year for success in gardening. Many of you may have tried vegetable gardening for the first time. If you grew tomatoes, you learned how cruel Mother Nature could be when it comes to late blight ruining all of your work. Yet many other vegetables grew fine. Annual and perennial flowers did grow and flowers as expected. Lawns took a hit from moles that tunneled under the snow during the winter months. I guess that this proves that gardening isn’t always as easy as we would like it to be.


Each of the failures we encountered this year is a lesson to be learned. There are blight resistant varieties of tomatoes. We can treat our lawns in the fall, to repel the moles. Each failure is a chance to improve our gardening skills. There are things, like the weather, over which we have no control. However, fungus diseases on our plants that are created by prolonged periods of rain can be controlled by applications of an appropriate fungicide. In so many ways, we are the masters of our own destiny when it comes to gardening. Problems will always crop up in our gardens. After seeing these problems over a period of years, we can learn to anticipate the arrival of the problem and take measures to correct the problem. It’s pretty much the same as anything we do in life. We tend to learn from our mistakes.


I’m not implying that gardening is all gloom and doom. As any long time gardener will tell you, when it goes right, the rewards are a beautiful garden. We shouldn’t let the set backs keep us from trying to grow certain things again. For example, if you have learned from the mistakes of planting in the wrong growing conditions, you can plant in the appropriate conditions and have success with what you initially thought were hard to grow plants.


Gardening is about growing living things. Sometimes these plants die. Most of the time the plants grow really well if they are planted in the proper location and taken care of in an appropriate manner. Gardening is an ever-evolving process. It is learning from our mistakes and capitalizing upon our successes. Gardening is an ever –changing education that allows us to be able to be batter gardeners if we just take the time to learn from what has worked as well as what hasn’t worked in our gardens.


To all the new gardeners who had failures, don’t give up hope. Look at all of the successes you had in your gardens. If the tomato plants died, try a new variety next year. If the summer squash yielded well, use that same variety again next year. Just remember that we old timers of gardening make mistakes too. Our education in gardening goes on from year to year, just as it will go on in future years for the new gardeners.


All gardeners should take some time in the off-season to read up on any new plant introductions. New varieties usually make gardening easier because the new varieties are disease resistant or they may flower earlier or longer. The World Wide Web has made it easier for you to learn so much about gardening. Garden columns like this one will provide you with timely advice on what is happening in your gardens each week. Keeping up with your “education” when it comes to gardening will pay off handsomely in the years to come.


Well, that is the end of the year’s pep talk. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to read this column and hopefully learn from it.


Have a safe and Happy New Year.

I’ll talk to you again next week.

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