Making Friends With Plants: Clever Ways To Share Plants With Others


By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

If you’re a gardener at heart,you’ve found lots of ways to enjoy the garden. You likely look at your gardenas more than a chore to benefit your family and your purse-strings. Maybe youwish for someone to share those major accomplishments that none of your friendsand family really seem to understand or appreciate. It’s always nice to havesomeone that shares your passion and love for gardening.

Sharing Plants and Gardening Stories

No one really understands yourtriumphs and hardships like a fellow gardener. If your close family and friendsdon’t share your gardening enthusiasm, it’s unlikely they’ll change. There arejust some people that get animated when discussing the garden and,unfortunately, some that don’t. That’s not your fault.

Making new friends through yourgardening efforts can lead to people who understand how difficult it was togrow that perfect melon. Or those that can relate firsthand the difficulties ofgrowing the simple carrot, which isn’t always that easy. A dedicated gardeningfriend could celebrate or empathize with you and offer that sense ofunderstanding you crave.

Sharing plants from the garden andthe stories attached to them is a great way to make new life-long friendships.

How to Make Friends with Gardening

There are various ways to shareplants or gardening stories to make new friends. In this day of social media, discussionsites and Facebook pages with some type of gardening as the primary topicabound. Find a couple of groups that deal with your interests and post youravailability there. It is possible to meet local people this way, maybe newgardening friends.

Here are some ideas that can sparksome conversation and get the ball rolling:

  • Get help with thinning out your beds. Plant division provides room for your plants to continue growing and gives you extras to share. Invite other nearby gardeners to come and help while giving them plenty to take home.
  • Share cuttings. If you’ve recently done some pruning and don’t want to waste those great cuttings (or even suckers), offer them to others. If you’re interested to see how quickly they will root and take hold, plant them. There is usually someone that will take them off your hands.
  • Trade plants or share skills. If you have extra plants but have been looking for that special one that’s hard to find, maybe you can locate it by trading plants. Another way to reach out is to help someone who is new to gardening. While you have lots of gardening expertise, perhaps you don’t know how to preserve some of the harvest through canning, juicing or dehydrating. Learning or sharing a new skill is always fun and enlightening.
  • Get involved with your local community garden. You’ll meet like-minded people that may become close gardening friends Community gardens provide fresh vegetables to those on tight budgets that might not afford grocery store prices. Contribute your skills for the combined goal of growing and expanding your gardening circle.

There are many ways of makingfriends with plants. Choose one or more ways to reach out to potentialgardening friends. We can always use a great friend, and you must admit,gardening friends ae special.

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May Gardening Tips and To-Do Lists by Planting Zone and Region

Jennifer is a full-time homesteader who started her journey in the foothills of North Carolina in 2010. Currently, she spends her days gardening, caring for her orchard and vineyard, raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. Jennifer is an avid canner who provides almost all food for her family needs. She enjoys working on DIY remodeling projects to bring beauty to her homestead in her spare times.

The years seem to zip by the older you get. Have you ever noticed this?

Which is why we’ve turned around twice, and it’s already May! If you’re an avid gardener, you’re probably doing your happy dance because gardening is entering full swing now.

Therefore, it’s important to stay on top of your gardening chores. If you aren’t exactly sure what you should be doing this month around your garden, our May gardening tips will keep you on track.

I’ll be sharing with you what your garden will need from you based on both the planting zone and region. It allows you to cross-reference the to-do lists to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Let’s get started on your garden’s honey-do list:


Vegetable Gardening: Plants That Don’t Grow Well Together


13 of the Most Common Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

Bethany Hayes

Bethany is a suburban homesteader who grows over 30 types of vegetables in her garden every year to provide the vegetables needed to feed her family of six for the entire year. She practices organic gardening without the use of any pesticide and chemical.

Gardening takes a lot of learning it takes more than putting a plant in the ground and watering it. Part of becoming a gardener is trial and error, but you can start by knowing what gardening mistakes to avoid.

Start off on the right foot by taking these tips from experienced gardeners. If you miss out on these mistakes, you’ll start off better than most gardeners.

Let’s take a look at some of the typical gardening mistakes that new gardeners make when they first get started.

1. Starting Too Large

You might have grand plans for a massive garden with paths and lighting and dozens of different shrubs, trees, and veggies. But each plant requires care and a basic understanding of its requirements.

Jumping in with both feet and starting too large will make you feel overwhelmed in a heartbeat.

At first, it won’t seem too bad, but as your plants grow larger and your workload increases, you’ll feel burned out. It’s better to start out small and add more garden beds and plants each year. Keep track in a planner what you do each year, and add more in the following year.

You’ll eventually end up at your dream garden, but it might take some time.

2. Not Preparing The Soil

Planting seeds and seedlings in basic garden soil won’t create an environment that they can thrive in. You need to prepare the soil before planting, which will provide plenty of nutrients for growth.

Prepare the soil as early in the season as you can, typically in the early spring. Then, let it rest until the weather reaches the point when you can plant whatever you want to grow.

One of the gardening mistakes so many beginners make is failing to add compost and other nutrients before planting. Yes, fertilizing throughout the growing season is crucial for many plants, but your plants and seeds need immediate nutrients to grow once you plant in your beds.

3. Giving Plants the Wrong Amount of Sunlight

It’s important that you pick a place with the right amount of sunlight for your plants. Each plant has specific requirements some need only four hours but many need upwards of eight hours of sunlight for proper growth.

All plants have different sunlight needs, so make sure you look at each plant’s requirements beforehand. Before you plant, make a plan so that everything is in the right spot.

Note ant trees that might leaf out and shade plants, or be aware of how the sunlight shifts over the year to ensure plants don’t end up in the wrong light. Planning avoids this simple mistake.

4. Over or Under Fertilizing

Everyone knows that fertilizing is an important part of gardening, but too much or too little fertilization will damage your plant’s growth.

Not all plants require the same fertilizers and nutrients. While all plants need NPK – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – some need more nitrogen than others. For example, leafy green veggies need more nitrogen, such as lettuce, cabbage, and swiss chard.

Some plants might not need any fertilizer, and all plants suffer if you give them too much.

5. Under or Over Watering

All plants need water it’s necessary for all life. However, some plants need more water than others.

For example, peppers do well with less water than cucumber plants. Peas need plenty of water because they’re cool-weather crops and thrive in moist soil.

Most people understand that not watering plants will kill them, but not everyone understands that too much water can be damaging. It’s one of the easiest gardening mistakes to make.

One of the easiest gardening tips to remember is to use the finger test before watering your garden.

Depending on the plant, you should be able to stick your finger into the soil to see how moist it is.

A general rule is to put your finger two inches into the soil. If it’s moist, you don’t need to water. If it’s dry, then you need to water. Of course, some plants like cacti should feel dry.

Too much water will rot and destroy the root system of a plant. Without healthy roots, the plant is unable to absorb nutrients.

6. Not Thinning Your Seedlings

Many seeds are so small that making the proper spacing can be hard. Planting seeds or transplants too closely together causes them to compete for nutrients.

The recommended advice is to plant your seeds, spacing them to the best of your ability. Then, you need to thin them out. Not all seeds will germinate, and not all sprouts survive. Thinning is a necessity, or your plants won’t grow properly.

7. Planting Too Deeply

You might think that planting deep is a good thing, but it’s one of the common gardening mistakes made. Large seeds, such as peas, beans, and corn, should be planted deeper. They have to come in contact with enough moisture for them to sprout.

Smaller seeds, such as lettuce, need light as well as moisture to germinate. You don’t need to plant these deeply they need sown in very loosened soil and pressed into the dirt.

Another mistake that you might make is planting your transplants too deeply. Some transplants need to be planted at the same depth that they were in their pots this prevents the stems from rotting.

Tomatoes and peppers are the two most common seedlings that need to be planted slightly deeper than they were in the container.

8. Failing to Weed

Weeds need to be removed from your garden beds, but you should remove them when they’re small with tiny root systems.

When you let weeds grow, the root system become stronger and starts to steal nutrients away from your vegetable plants.

8. Adding Too Much Mulch

It’s always a good thing to add mulch to your vegetable garden, but adding too much mulch is an easy gardening mistake to make. Using mulch helps to keep weeds from sprouting while retaining moisture and keeping the soil temperature cool or warm.

When you use too much mulch, it can end up matted around your plants, preventing water and sunlight from reaching the roots of your plant.

9. Using Too Little Mulch

If using too much mulch is considered one of the major gardening mistakes, using too little is just as bad. It makes more work for you, and you won’t maintain the best environment for the plants.

The most notable reason to use plenty of mulch is to suppress weeds, which compete for nutrients. If you don’t use enough mulch, the weeds can still grow.

Another benefit of using mulch is that it helps to retain moisture, but if you don’t lay down a thick layer, the moisture will dry and evaporate at the same rate.

10. Planting Too Early

It can be easy to get excited and start planting too early. Who doesn’t love gardening and getting your hands in soil after a long winter?

Starting seeds too early can be problematic, but if they spend too much time inside, the seedlings can become lanky and leggy, eventually dying.

If you plant seeds or seedlings outside too early, you risk encountering a late frost. Plants, even larger ones, can die during a rogue frost.

11. Planting Too Late

Here is another one of the common gardening mistakes you don’t want to make – putting your plants out too late.

Everything you grow in your garden matures at a certain time you can figure this out by reading the seed packet or growing info. This will tell you the average days to maturity, which is how many days between planting to the first harvest.

You might think that planting too late is no big deal, but you’d be wrong. Planting anything too late in the season means that they might hit the first frost of the season before they produce their full harvest.

Also, some plants prefer cooler temperatures, so if you plant spring crops too late, they’ll run into warmer temperatures than they like. Some veggies do okay in that situation, but others go to bolt, ruining your harvest.

12. Failing to Harvest Your Plants

You spend all of this time planting, growing, and tending your plants, so when the time comes to harvest, you would think you’d be excited. However, some gardeners are hesitant to harvest when things are ready.

You might think that, if you harvest everything, your plants won’t keep producing, or that you’ll somehow damage your plants by harvesting them.

However, not harvesting the ripe vegetables in time can cause your plants to slow down production. When the branches are full of tomatoes or peppers, your plant doesn’t receive the signal to produce more veggies.

13. Not Staggering Harvest

Succession planting is useful for some plants. You don’t want all of your lettuce to come to harvest at one time. Families can only eat so many salads, and you could end up wasting a bunch.

It’s smart to strategically plan your plantings. Try to stagger them for every two to three weeks for crops that aren’t cut and come again. Examples are lettuce, kale, radishes, and carrots.

It’s better to stagger than to waste your vegetables.


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