Strategic gardening

GardeningThe concept of gardening conjures different images for different people. While the idea of having multicolored flowers, fresh fruits or vegetables is a strong motivating factor to even those born without a green thumb, the process to get there can be very daunting to a beginning gardener. But with a little bit of work, a strategic plan and the acceptance that not everything planted will work out, gardening can be a fun and thrifty summer activity.

In order to begin, a strategic plan should be set in place. For college students, limited space is a common issue when gardening. One workaround is to create the garden in pots.

However, something to consider when going this route would be what is intended to be grown. For example one wants to grow carrots, they he or she would need a pot with more depth to allow the carrot to grow. The best way to get a specific plan together would be to either do Internet research or go to a local greenhouse. Not only is this a fun outing for future gardeners, but many have knowledgeable staff that are willing to answer any question.

The second step is to buy the materials. One will need pots or some kind of container. These can be plastic, which will drastically cut the startup cost. Soil will also be needed and can range in price depending on the size of the bag and what brand it is. A large, 42-liter bag can be found for under $20, split among fellow gardeners.

Anne Sutton, one of the owners of family-owned Sutton’s Greenhouse on Tudor said that if she had one piece of advice to give beginners it would be to “start with good soil. Start with crummy soil, get crummy results.”

Last but not least, one will need seeds or some other fruit or vegetable pieces that can grow from themselves. Potatoes, green onions and even pineapples are all examples of plants that can be planted in soil and potentially produce more of itself.

Then choose a location for your garden. While it would be nice if everyone had a plot of land to grow plants on, the plus side to having a mobile garden is that the separate pieces can be moved around.

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Finally create a regular maintenance system for the plants. “If you put a time-release fertilizer in, all you have to do is water them,” said Patty Sutton, sister of Anne Sutton and part owner of Sutton Greenhouse.

Once a garden begins to grow, it becomes exciting to see what new branch has grown overnight — and if luck has its way, a flower blooms, fruit or vegetable emerge.