My name is Wendy, a gardener for six years, who lives in Western New York. I have always been active and love the outdoors. Gardening for me is really just another activity that keeps me outside! Growing up in rural Western New York, my whole family were outdoor enthusiasts. My dad hunted, and both of my parents drove snow machines. My sister, brother and myself were encouraged to go outside all the time. My backyard was 40+ acres of woods and hay fields. We rarely watched TV. We only had three channels! My parents were also huge gardeners. They have both flower and vegetable gardens, and I watched them work and tend to these gardens for years. Unfortunately, I don’t live in the country anymore, but I do live in a northern suburb of Buffalo, NY, that’s literally a stone’s throw away from the historic Erie Canal. This is quite a beautiful area, especially in the summer. Unfortunately, our growing season is rather short, but we Western New Yorkers make the most of the time we have, and we appreciate every minute!
The “bent trowel” is what happens when you unknowingly purchase super cheap garden tools from a discount store, trying to tackle your first big job of landscaping your new home! That was also one of the first lessons I learned– invest in a good set of gardening tools– it’s worth the money and will save you time and will eliminate many headaches in the future! I have since “grown” from that experience, and it has only gotten better. Once you are bitten by the gardening bug, it really becomes addicting! The joy I get out of making the yard space I have beautiful by planting, digging, transplanting, and expanding (when this happens, you know you have been bitten by the garden bug!), is truly indescribable. Gardening is hard work. Period. The time and money you put into it can seem daunting, so that’s why I would like to share with you my journey, and what I learn along the way. You can make your outdoor space look like a million bucks without spending that much. As with everything in life, you start small, and go from there. You may hate it after trying it. And that’s OK. At least you tried. Or, you will be like me and end up loving it, and want to spend every minute trying to figure out what to do with this corner of the yard, or that shady space under the tree. So sit back, and enjoy. Hopefully, the information I have supplied to you will help you out with your future garden endeavors!
So, let’s get down to basics. The two most common types of plants you will hear about are:
Annuals– plants that only last one growing season.
Perennials– plants that come back year after year.
So, you would like to start gardening. How do you start a garden on a budget?
- Buy on sale. Wait to buy most of your plants after the season. Small farm stores, big box stores and nurseries start slashing prices by 50% on their “spring nursery stock”, which includes trees, shrubs and other perennials. Stocking up in August and into the fall is the smartest and less painful on your wallet.
- Buy seeds and bulbs. Seeds and bulbs are much less expensive than actually buying the plant. Of course, you will have to invest a little more patience waiting for seeds or bulbs, but that still costs less overall! I recommend purchasing seeds from your local nursery or farm store. I do not recommend buying seeds from a big box store. I know this from experience from this past growing season. Thinking I could get a great deal on a bag full of seeds and bulbs, NONE of them came up. Yet another “growing” experience!
- Get them free. Relatives, neighbors, friends, even plant exchanges at your local garden club, are always willing to give you plants that they have too much of. Trust me, this will happen. You will get plants that will start growing like crazy, and instead of just pulling them out of your garden, you can share them with those closest to you!
Please stay tuned as I lay down the groundwork on the basics of gardening and take you right into the fall season!