Notes from a Novice Gardener: Advice for not getting overwhelmed

Two weeks into a career in gardening, blogger Melissa Fraser has some advice for not getting overwhelmed.

Credit: courtesy Melissa Fraser

Melissa Fraser as a young gardener

Since I started gardening—a whole two weeks ago—I’ve been talking with a number of people about gardening. You know, regular ol’ green thumb chat—and, of course, a bit of shameless blog plugging on my part.

I found out a lot of my friends are in the same boat as me. This is their first chance at a garden, but they’re feeling a bit discouraged. They think it’s a lot of work, they don’t know what to plant or if it will grow, and they’re scared of killing anything that would have otherwise had a chance to live had they not been a part of it.

Now, I know I’m pretty new to the whole thing, despite my two weeks experience, but I’ve been thinking about it all and I don’t think it’s going to be as hard as my mother keeps telling me. There’s a lot of information out there and a lot of resources, and I think this makes gardening look more difficult than it is. It gets a bit intimidating, especially if you aren’t familiar with gardening terms, like “leggy roots”—which I found out does not mean my plants will get whistled at when they’re walking down the street…

But new gardeners need to remember that plants are smart. The way I see it, they grow on their own in nature, it’s probably harder to screw it up than it seems. Sure, the gardeners who are able to grow their own Utopia, need to know a lot about soil composition, controlling leaf spot fungal disease and creating calcium-rich mulch. These are all great things for any gardener to know, but I think it’s okay not to know this either.

The trick is to not get over ambitions when you’re first starting out. Also, don’t let the abundance of information overwhelm you. Oh, and thanks for the tips last week. We’ve got the little guys—named the Tom Atoes family—by the big window and we’re using a fan every so often to get a breeze on them.