Not only does April honor Earth Day but also growing plants — that’s right, April is National Garden Month. Each year, the National Gardening Association (NGA) sponsors National Garden Month to encourage individuals to get outside and grow plants. If you have been thinking about gardening, this is a great time to go ahead and take the plunge. And for those who are getting a slow start this year, find some inspiration and get back out there.
There are so many reasons that people garden. Some do it because they love fresh floral bouquets –and in spite of the high prices we pay to buy flowers, they are relatively simple to grow.
For those who just arenít sure where to start and need some ideas and inspiration, as the weather keeps getting warmer, you can find inspiration by visiting local botanical gardens. You might want to consider becoming a member of your local garden, because they can provide you with resources all year long. Most offer seasonal garden classes, year-round programs, plant sales, and local garden clubs that focus on almost every kind of plant or flower that you can think of.
Other people exclusively grow†edible plants,†so that they can ensure they are getting organically grown produce, and because they want to know exactly what goes into their food.
If you have wanted to try growing your own food but are feeling overwhelmed and arenít sure where to begin, start small. Donít think that you need to plant the entire area that you have available. Start by growing some of your favorite, easy-to-grow vegetables and herbs.
My biggest piece of advice for new edible gardeners is to grow what you like and grow only what you will eat. It sounds so simple, but many new gardeners get so wrapped up in the idea of growing all of their own food and see this as the time to try eating new things, that they forget about what it might take to grow those things. Once you get comfortable growing produce, then you can gradually keep incorporating more and more as you progress.
Regardless of whether you grow beautiful flowers or fresh food, there are plenty of other benefits; I garden because it gets me out of the office, away from my computer, and into the fresh air. And it also gives me exercise!
As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, I have learned so much from my garden, and not all of it is related to horticulture but also the rest of my life.† These lessons have been the biggest, unexpected gift I have received from gardening, and I look forward each season to learning more of them.