Of Flowers and Failures: Spring Gardening Tips for Beginners

Of Flowers and Failures: Spring Gardening Tips for Beginners
I've never been a "successful" gardener, but I learn more through failure each year! Here are some spring gardening lessons from my mistakes!

Consider sunlight
I was fortunate to buy a house with a thriving backyard terrace. The plants are well-established and self-sufficient. My front yard, however, hosts an empty garden bed I am determined to fill. I turned the ground, added fresh soil, and sewed some seeds. The first few sprouts were thrilling, but withered quickly in the nearly-constant sunlight. I always thought sun was good for plants, but in the case of my fragile flowers, too much of a good thing was the end.

Cooking water This is a weird tip I've heard from a number of sources whenever I ask for any sage (or rosemary, or thyme) gardening advice. After steaming veggies, boiling potatoes, or cooking pasta, don't dump the water down the sink, let it cool completely, then use it to water your garden. The idea is that the nutrients seeped out during cooking will add additional potential to garden soils.

Start plants indoors
New England weather is unpredictable at best, and spiteful at worst. While I have learned to weather the weather, tiny plant sprouts are not so resilient. Give your plants a head-start by starting them indoors, and carefully transferring them outside when they are established. I have had the best luck with moving windowsill flowers. Repurposed egg cartons make fabulous starter-beds.

Veggies vs. flowers
If you are a novice gardener, or a hopeless garden-enthusiast like me, you should consider the differences between vegetables and flowers. True, there are perennial flowers, which should bloom every year, but that is only if your roots take, and you are able to fully-establish the plant. Vegetables, on the other hand, tend to grow faster, and are heartier, more forgiving plants. And they're food!

Rabbits like bulbs I planted some tulip bulbs, admiring their resilience, and hoping the flowers would root strongly, and return to bloom each year. After an unseasonable spring heat-wave, my flowers withered, and I learned… that we had rabbits-and rabbits eat flower bulbs! They even left the bulb scraps at my front door! To avoid garden nibbling, encircle bulb-plants with rough gravel, and set up feeders away from your garden.
One day, I will have a successful outdoor garden, but for now I'm still learning, and soaking up the sun with the flowers!