Top 10 Lessons from a City Girl’s Garden

Please don’t let these picture fool you. Yes, this is my garden. But, no, gardening does not come naturally to me…at all. I envy the folks who just seem to have a knack for it. I suppose you could say I learn things “the hard way” – I’ve pretty much learned all that I know about gardening by losing crops and then frantically checking in with Google (or one of my human friends) for an explanation and, hopefully, a solution.

Melon harvest 2011

And, honestly, I’m truly more in love with the idea of having a garden than with the process of gardening itself. Perhaps some of you can relate? I guess you could call me a “gardener of circumstance.” It’s not that I have a green thumb or just can’t get enough of wading around in mud, pulling weeds, and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Heck no! I am a C-I-T-Y girl through and through! I have just developed a deep appreciation for real, organic foods…and growing these things myself is the cheapest (and freshest) way to go!

Following are the Top 10 Lessons that I’ve learned, so far, from my extensive (cough, cough!) gardening “career.” Do you have any tips you’d like to share with me? Please leave a comment below!

Top 10 Lessons from a City Girl’s Garden

10. Bees are our friends. Without them many plants would never produce fruit. They are not to be feared…regardless of how afraid of them you may have been raised to be because you grew up with a mother who was terrified that they might buzz around and get all tangled up in her very long, very thick hair!! (Thanks, mom!)

9. Plant your garden where you can see it and enjoy it (and, thus, where you’ll be less likely to forget about it or neglect it). Just be sure the space you choose gets 6 (preferably 8-10) good hours of sun per day! There’s no law that says your garden must be tucked away out of sight in a back corner of your yard. Seriously, why do people do this?? I for one am way too lazy to walk all the way back there; and I greatly enjoy having a lovely view of my garden right from my kitchen window!

8. Cute, fluttery little white moths are not our friends. Ditto for tiny little green worms. And critters that look like cute little yellowish-green lady bugs should not be treated as such! They must die, too! (Sorry folks, no one said this was gonna be pretty!)

7. Plant your garden out of reach of any male dogs. Veggies taste best when watered by humans!

6. Always plant radishes. They provide instant gratification because they grow very quickly. Even if you don’t eat them—just grow them and give them away. They’re pretty dummy-proof, so you’ll feel successful even if the rest of your garden dies.

5. Fake rubber snakes placed strategically around your garden will deter birds, but the birds will eventually realize their “fakeness” if you don’t move them around from time to time! Or perhaps birds just don’t fear snakes they presume to be dead?! Either way, you lose!

4. If you’re the type of city girl who doesn’t enjoy little spiders and things crawling on your kitchen counter, it may behoove you to give your garden-fresh veggies a quick rinse outdoors before bringing them inside! Trust me!

3. When entering your garden, always wave your arms around in front of you at eye level before walking between tall plants. Yes, you will look like a freakin’ maniac. But, on the bright side, you won’t end up with spider webs stuck to your face!

2. Never! I repeat…NEVER let bunnies know how cute you secretly think they are. They will use this weakness against you and nibble your plants down to nubs! Ignore their convincing little pleas and promises, and erect a fence…pronto!

1. Make friends with every gardener you meet – especially if they have a HUGE garden! Sure, they may be great folks and you might enjoy their company, but that’s really beside the point. Chances are they will have extra food they’ll need to give away at some point. Which brings me to…City Girl’s Garden Lesson #1: Never grow for yourself what others will grow for you for free!

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Harvest late summer 2011

12 thoughts on “Top 10 Lessons from a City Girl’s Garden

  1. Ok now I’m hooked. You had me captivated by number 8 but straight LOL’ng by number 2… “Never let bunnies know how cute you think they are” LOVE it all!!!! and I am right there with you sister. Doing the best I can with what I have and learning and sharing along the way. Pleasant journies garden friend.

  2. The BEE tip… so true. I have a buddy that is really starting to understand organic gardening and living and has one or two bee hives that he maintains on his property. I am starting to learn to not panic when his “girls” are buzzing around my head. LOL

  3. I love all your advice! I too live in the city but have plenty of yard. My husband and I resently chose a large spot to start our garden but I am so scared to try it! I can’t even keep the organic potted herbs we buy at Whole Foods alive even a week… I guess I have a lot of research to do… Lol… Thanks for all the advice!!!

  4. Love this! I’ve done gardening in the past but now I’m going to sustainability and organic food. So satisfying and so frustrating! I’ve started using the pulp from my veggie juices and pulping everything I would throw away for instant soil vitamins because I don’t have a composter yet.

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