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Unveiling Strategies and Mindsets to Thrive in Your Garden

Embarking on a journey to create and maintain a thriving garden is not just about planting seeds and watering them regularly. It involves understanding the intricacies of your specific garden’s needs. The key lies in asking the right questions and adopting the right strategies and mindsets. In the Guide to a Garden that Thrives! eGuide, eight insightful strategies and mindsets are explored that can transform your gardening experience, and each strategy has multiple steps of questions to ask yourself in your investigation.

A plant seed sprouting with street sign post and the signs THRIVING, GROWING, and WINNING

Understanding Your Garden’s Health

Creating a garden that thrives starts with a mindset shift towards understanding your garden’s health. When your plants aren’t flourishing, it is crucial to approach the situation with curiosity rather than frustration. Instead of solely focusing on symptoms, delve into the root causes by asking strategic questions. 

Strategic Questioning for a Thriving Garden

For example, strategies three and four in the eGuide focus on the planting and watering of your garden vegetation. When your garden is not thriving or your plants are not looking too healthy, observe your plants and consider the following with regards to PLANTS and WATER.

Step 1

Begin by looking at your plant spacing. Are they either too far apart or too close together? Correct plant spacing is vital for proper root growth, photosynthesis, water intake, and plant harmony in your garden. When you are new to gardening, it is best to follow the plant spacing guidelines that are included with your plants, unless you have taken a crop planning course and have the foundational rules and guidelines for alternative plant spacing. Keep in mind that you might also need to leave more space between plants if you are not growing in the ground. 

Step 2

Next, consider whether or not you are selecting the right plant varieties for your area. You want to choose the right plant varieties for your climate as well as your current season. The right varieties also includes selecting the varieties that are resistant to certain pests or disease that may be prevalent to your area.  

Step 3

Is your garden being provided adequate water? As a general rule, garden vegetables need between 1-2 inches of water per week. It is important to observe and record the amount of water that your plants are receiving naturally to determine how much that you need to supplement Mother Nature.

Looking at alternatives to manually watering your garden? Check out this blog post on Drip Irrigation Systems for Garden Beds.

Step 4

Verify that the water you are using for your garden is clean. Sometimes, treated city and well waters can impact garden growth. Check your city water levels or investigate your well water  softener type. If necessary, filter your water or change your well water softener.

Also, be aware that most water softeners are made with sodium chloride and essentially cause the plants in your garden to die of thirst. The salt will build up in your soil over time and make it difficult for future plants to grow. To reduce the salt levels as much as possible, dilute your water with rainwater. You can also use a reverse osmosis filter.

Mindsets for Gardening Success

Along with asking yourself the right questions for your garden to thrive, it is essential to have a positive garden mindset as well. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind as you are observing and investigating any issues in your garden.

Curiosity over Frustration

Approach garden challenges with curiosity rather than frustration. Each issue is an opportunity to learn and enhance your gardening skills.

Prevention as a Proactive Measure

Adopt a preventative mindset. Regularly assess your garden’s health to identify potential issues before they escalate. Regular soil testing and climate evaluation can be proactive measures.

Harmonic Thinking

Embrace harmonic thinking. Your garden is a complex ecosystem where every element is interconnected. Consider the interplay of climate, soil health, and plant choices for a comprehensive approach.

Adaptability

Be adaptable to changing conditions. If a particular plant struggles, consider alternative choices better suited to your climate and soil conditions.

Your Garden Journey

Creating and maintaining a garden that thrives is an ongoing journey that involves a combination of strategic questioning, mindset shifts, and practical gardening strategies. By approaching challenges with curiosity, adopting preventative mindsets, and implementing harmonic thinking, you can cultivate a garden that not only survives but truly thrives. With the Guide to a Garden that Thrives! eGuide, you will be armed with the questions required to elevate your gardening space and empowered with the insights needed to ensure that your garden becomes a flourishing haven of health and vitality. 

To find out more about strategies three and four—PLANTS and WATER—along with the other six strategies, be sure to download your FREE copy of the Guide to a Garden that Thrives! eGuide and keep it handy the next time that you are evaluating your garden’s success!

Guide to a Garden that Thrives! eGuide

Want to learn even more about creating a thriving garden? Join Grow Your Own Vegetables for the FREE Joyful Gardener Docuseries February 20th-27th. Don’t worry if you have missed a few days. Each and every day is packed full of useful gardening information and can be enjoyed individually. Register HERE before you miss another day!

Let us know in the comments below what garden question you have found to be most useful in investigating your garden!

Maximize Your Garden’s Potential with Sunlight

A thriving garden is not just about the seeds that you plant or the soil you use. It’s also about harnessing the power of sunlight. Sunlight plays a crucial role in nurturing your garden. It’s not enough for a growing space to “seem” sunny.

To produce significant amounts of vegetables, your plants need at least six hours of sunlight each day and would love MORE. If a plant does not see the sun, it cannot photosynthesize, which means it cannot grow effectively. If your plants get less than six hours of sunlight each day, you are working AGAINST nature. To fully maximize your garden’s potential, you must understand and optimize your available sunlight.

A woman with outstretched hands enjoying the sunlight

Understand the Sun’s Role in Plant Growth

Sunlight is the primary source of energy for plants, driving the process of photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, plants convert sunlight into energy, producing sugars that fuel their growth and development. The intensity, duration, and quality of sunlight directly impact the health and productivity of your garden. Vegetables and herbs thrive when they are able to soak up six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. 

Observe Sun Patterns in Your Garden

Maximizing sunlight involves understanding how it moves through your garden at different times of the day and during different seasons. Spend time observing sun patterns, noting areas that receive full sun, partial shade, or full shade. This knowledge helps you plan the layout of your garden beds, ensuring that your plants are appropriately positioned to receive the optimal amount of sunlight throughout the day.

Use Reflective Surfaces to Amplify Sunlight

Enhance the amount of sunlight reaching your plants by strategically placing reflective surfaces in your garden. Light-colored mulch, reflective garden ornaments, or even strategically positioned mirrors can bounce sunlight onto shaded areas, maximizing the overall exposure. Reflective surfaces are particularly beneficial for gardens with tall structures or in urban settings where shadows may limit sunlight penetration.

Implement Vertical Gardening

When ground space is limited, look to the sky for gardening opportunities. Vertical gardening allows you to make the most of available sunlight by growing plants on walls, trellises, or vertical structures. Vining plants such as tomatoes, beans, or cucumbers thrive when allowed to climb, optimizing their exposure to sunlight. Vertical gardening not only maximizes space but also ensures that every inch receives its share of the sun’s nourishing rays.

Invest in Seasonal Adjustments

Recognize that sunlight availability changes with the seasons. Plan for seasonal adjustments by rotating your plant placements or incorporating movable containers. This flexibility ensures that your plants receive ample sunlight during the growing season. Adapting to seasonal changes maximizes your garden’s potential year-round.

Bask in the Glow of a Sunlit Garden

In the dance of growth and life within your garden, sunlight takes center stage as the primary source of energy. By understanding the sunlight requirements of your plants, observing sun patterns, and strategically planning your garden layout, you can unlock the full potential of sunlight for optimal plant growth.

Whether you’re reflecting sunlight with clever surfaces, embracing vertical gardening, or adjusting for seasonal changes, these strategies empower you to create a garden that basks in the radiant glow of the sun. As you embark on this sunlit journey, may your garden thrive, bloom, and become a testament to the brilliance of harnessing nature’s most potent energy source.

Sunlight is the first key to a successful garden outlined in the eGuide Double Your Vegetables in Half the Garden Space. To discover the other four keys to a successful garden, download your FREE copy of the eGuide to keep handy as you plan out your garden space before your next growing season. Happy Growing!

Double Your Harvest

5 Tips to Stay Joyful in Your Garden

Gardening is not just about cultivating plants; it’s a journey of nurturing your soul. The garden isn’t just a collection of plants; it’s a sanctuary where you can escape, connect with nature, and experience pure bliss. Staying joyful can be tough, though, especially if your season starts to overwhelm you. Here are five tips to help you maintain the joy of gardening.

Different examples of joyful gardeners

TIP 1: Set Yourself Up for Success

Set yourself up for a thriving garden by planning ahead. As the first signs of spring emerge, take a moment to strategize. Identify the ideal plants for your space, plan their layout, and compile a comprehensive supply list. Early planning ensures that you’re equipped for a seamless and fruitful growing season. From choosing the right soil to anticipating sunlight needs, each detail matters. So, grab your gardening journal, sketch your vision, and watch your efforts bloom into a garden that’s not just planted but meticulously crafted for success.

TIP 2: Streamline Your Process

In the garden, time is precious, and efficiency is key. Take a moment to evaluate where you invest too much time and energy. Whether it’s weeding, watering, or maintenance, investigate smart solutions to streamline tasks and embrace time-saving tools to reduce labor-intensive efforts. Pro Tip: Automating your watering—such as with a drip irrigation system, for example—is the number one time-saver in the garden, saving as much as 20 hours per week for a 1000 square feet of garden. 

By optimizing your gardening routine, you free up more moments for the aspects you truly love about your garden. Maximizing joy by minimizing the mundane ensures every minute in your garden is a delightful investment.

TIP 3: Embrace Imperfections and Learn from Mistakes

Gardening is an art, not an exact science. It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter challenges along the way, from pest invasions to unexpected weather changes. Instead of viewing these obstacles as setbacks, consider them valuable lessons in the art of gardening. Embrace the imperfections, celebrate the resilience of your plants, and learn from your mistakes. Recognize that not every plant will bloom perfectly or every seed will sprout to ensure a more positive and joyful gardening experience. Remember, each challenge is an opportunity for growth…both for you and your garden.

TIP 4: Make Time for Reflection and Relaxation

Your garden is not just a place for physical activity but also a haven for mental and emotional rejuvenation. Dedicate time to simply sit and absorb the serenity of your green space. Create a cozy nook with comfortable seating, surrounded by your favorite plants. Allow yourself moments of stillness to reflect, meditate, or enjoy a good book. The tranquility of your garden can be a powerful antidote to the stresses of daily life. By intentionally incorporating relaxation into your gardening routine, you’ll cultivate a sense of joy that extends beyond the physical labor.

TIP 5: Join a Garden Community

Not only is there a wonderful sense of camaraderie and celebration around success in a garden community, but such communities are also a strong resource for support if you’re ever up against a gardening obstacle. You will find that the burden of gardening challenges lighten through the shared experiences.

A variety of garden communities exist—both in-person and virtually. A thriving garden community allows you to connect with fellow enthusiasts, exchange wisdom, and revel in the collective joy of your gardens. By fostering a network of like-minded souls—sharing both successes and obstacles—you ensure that the joy of gardening is not only sown into your soil but into your daily life as well. 

If you haven’t already, check out the Grow Your Own Vegetables’ Facebook Community Group HERE. We would love to have you be a part of our growing supportive gardening community filled with growers from all around the world.

Experience the Joy

Remember that finding joy in your garden is not only about the end result but about relishing the entire journey. Set yourself up for success by planning ahead, streamline your process to save time, embrace the imperfections, and learn from your mistakes. Let your garden be a source of continuous joy and inspiration, a place where you can escape, connect with nature, and revel in the simple pleasures of life. When you’re a joyful gardener, you experience the true harmonious wonder that is gardening.

Because we wish all gardeners to experience the joy of gardening, Grow Your Own Vegetables has created the upcoming Joyful Gardener Docuseries, an 8-part series on growing the FRESHEST, most nutrient-rich foods right at home and experiencing the wonderful JOY of gardening at the same time. 

Every episode of the Joyful Gardener Docuseries is pure 🌟 GARDENING GOLD 🌟 and helps you to grow food with ease. This event has already helped thousands of gardeners grow their own food successfully and abundantly in past years—and is ready to help you this year!

Please join us beginning February 20th for this exciting 8-part complimentary docuseries by REGISTERING HERE for your free ticket.

Let us know in the comments once you have secured your seat!

The Joyful Gardener Header

The Role of Your Garden Personality in Successful Gardening

Gardening is a deeply rewarding pursuit. It allows you to connect with nature, nurture life, and create a sanctuary of beauty and tranquility right in your own area. Just as each garden is unique, so is every gardener. Your garden is an expression of your values, strengths, and goals and tells who you are as a gardener. In other words, you have a garden personality.

What is a Garden Personality?

Your garden personality is a reflection of your individual preferences, interests, and gardening style. It encompasses your gardening goals, your level of experience, and your personal connection to the natural world. Over the years, the gardening experts at Grow Your Own Vegetables have observed that gardeners typically share eight distinct core values and have given identities to each core value.

Garden Personality Tomato Chef

Garden Chef

Garden Personality Broccoli Buddha

Garden Buddha

Garden Personality Carrot Artist 1

Garden Artist

Garden Personality Garlic Explorer

Garden Explorer

Garden Personality Ginger Alchemist

Garden Alchemist

Garden Personality Mushroom Sage

Garden Sage

Garden Personality Asparagus Activist

Garden Activist

Garden Personality Turmeric Ninja

Garden Ninja

Why is Knowing Your Garden Personality Important?

Identifying your garden personality is a crucial step in setting and achieving your gardening goals. Your garden personality influences your gardening choices and identifies the components of gardening that bring you the most joy and a sense of fulfillment and leads you towards achieving garden success. 

Setting realistic goals

Your garden personality helps you to set goals that align with your interests and strengths. If you’re a Garden Activist, your goals may involve creating a wildlife-friendly garden or reducing your carbon footprint. On the other hand, if you’re a Garden Artist, your goals may revolve around achieving a specific garden design or color scheme.

Staying motivated

What motivates you and how you best stay motivated is influenced by your specific garden personality. When your goals resonate with your natural inclinations, you’re more likely to stay committed to your garden projects and enjoy the process. For example, a Garden Chef finds joy in harvesting lots of fresh vegetables, while a Garden Buddha appreciates the moments of tranquility in their garden.

Optimizing resources

Different garden personalities have varying resource requirements. A Garden Chef may need more space, sunlight, and irrigation for their vegetable garden, while a Garden Sage might focus on creating a small, low-maintenance meditation garden. Understanding your personality allows you to allocate your resources effectively.

Overcoming challenges

Knowing your garden personality helps you to anticipate and address challenges as they arise. For instance, a Garden Ninja may relish the challenge of building a complex garden structure, while a Garden Activist may need to first learn about specific native plants and wildlife-friendly practices to achieve their goals.

How Do You Find Your Garden Personality?

Ultimately, the key to a successful garden lies in finding harmony between your garden personality and your garden goals. To find out more about the different garden personalities as well as how to discover your individual garden personality, Grow Your Own Vegetables created a handy free downloadable eGuide that outlines how to identify your values and the garden goals that align with those values. You can download your complimentary copy HERE

Once you discover it, embrace your garden personality for it is a reflection of your connection to the natural world and what you hold most dear. It will lead you to a more fulfilling and successful gardening experience.

Go ahead and let your personality bloom! 🌱

Let us know what you discover is your Garden Personality in the comments below.

Grow Your Own Vegetables and Save Money

In today’s world of rising grocery prices and economic uncertainty, many people are looking for ways to cut down on their expenses. One surprisingly effective way to save money on your grocery bills is by starting your own vegetable garden. By growing your own vegetables, it is not unimaginable to save hundreds or maybe even thousands on your grocery bill annually. It’s all about knowing what to plant, where to plant, when to plant, how to plant…and then getting started!

Stacks of quarters into a jar full of quarters each with a small plant on top.

Make Your Wish List

Plant what you eat! It may sound obvious but not everyone starts their planning this way. Start by looking at your grocery receipts to figure out what you regularly purchase and make a list of possible foods to plant. Do you use a lot of herbs in your recipes? Then a herb garden is a must, but which herbs do you use? Add the ones that you purchase most often to your list.

Does your family eat a lot of salads? What’s in your salads? Tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers? If so, add those to your list. Does your family have a favorite vegetable for a side dish? Potatoes? Green beans? Add to the list.

Though you probably will not be able to plant everything you eat, having a good list of options is a great way to start your planning. You will be surprised at how many foods that you purchase can be grown in your backyard.

Also, think about the food items that you have wanted to eat but have been out of your current grocery budget. Add these to your list. They may be an affordable option to add your garden!

Location, Location, Location

Decide what space you have available for growing. New growers are often shocked when they realize how much food can be grown in a small space, as well as where you can grow. Be creative in your planning.

Throughout the years, we at Grow Your Own Vegetables have seen it all from our students—growing in closets, under desks, in garages—you name it! As you can see, gardens are no longer just for the backyard. You can grow food in containers on decks and patios, on rooftops, in community gardens, at schools, at senior centers, and even in front yards for everyone to see. And don’t forget growing vertically! 

The amount of space that you have will determine how much and which crops you grow. 

To maximize your space, focus on planting high-yield crops such as tomatoes, herbs, and leaf lettuce. Also, look at crops that do not require a lot of space such as radishes and garlic. Thinking about space helps you to begin narrowing down your list of potential foods to grow.

Careful planning is essential for saving money in your garden. Knowing what to plant where allows you to maximize your garden harvest. To help you with this crucial step, Grow Your Own Vegetables offers a Beginning Crop Planning Microcourse, which you can get at half price through THIS LINK.

Know Your Area

You have your list of items that you eat and have narrowed it down by the amount of space that is available to use for growing. The next step is to look at the specific crops and decide what is feasible to grow in your specific area. Not all plants grow well in all areas. You will need to consider your growing season length, the amount of available sunlight, and your temperature ranges. You can find all the necessary information online for your area. However, wouldn’t it be nice to have it all packaged together in a single place? The Beginning Crop Planning Microcourse (mentioned in previous section) covers all this in one neat course package.

To Seed or Not To Seed

If you have the time and space, consider starting your plants from seeds indoors in late spring. Seeds are the most cost effective, and you usually get more than you can use. Consider starting a seed exchange in your community to spread the overall cost and help everyone to garden at a minimal cost. 

However, if you do not have the space to start seeds indoors, purchasing plants is still a cost savings over purchasing the final products from the grocery store. Compare the price of purchasing a single vegetable item at the grocery store to the price of purchasing a single plant of that vegetable and harvesting from that plant throughout the growing season and you will be able to see the cost savings.

A Little or A Lot

A smart gardener plans to grow more vegetables than can be eaten fresh. An even smarter gardener plans on a surplus that can be preserved for consumption during the winter months. Crops like carrots, potatoes, onions, and winter squash, require little to no processing for long-term storage.

There are numerous ways to preserve your vegetables and herbs for future use such as freezing, dehydrating, canning, and fermenting. If you’re interested in not only growing food to consume fresh but preserving it for the winter months as well, our Preserve the Harvest course covers all these methods and more. The full course is available through THIS LINK at a special price.

And There’s More

Beyond the financial benefits, gardening can be free entertainment. It’s a productive way to spend your time, get exercise, and relieve stress. It can also be an educational activity, especially if you involve your children. 

Growing your own vegetables is not only a rewarding and satisfying experience but also a practical way to save money on your grocery bills. Even if you have limited space, you can start saving money by growing herbs or small veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, or lettuce on a small patio or in a sunny window.

By starting your list of potential foods to grow and narrowing it down by considering your available space and growing season, you can start your own thrifty garden and enjoy the important financial benefits, while also savoring the taste of homegrown produce. Whether you have a small patio or a spacious backyard, there’s room for a cost-effective vegetable garden in your life.

We have even developed a course for the specific purpose of saving you money on your grocery bill. Our Fresh Food Essentials Course is about growing $400 worth of groceries in only 40 days. It’s available at a special savings through THIS LINK. And if you are interested in learning a bit of everything, we have a Prepare, Plant, and Preserve Bundle for a great price through THIS LINK.

Either way—whether you use our courses to get started or choose to do your own research—the important takeaway is saving money on your groceries by growing your own vegetables and herbs and providing fresh healthy foods for your family’s table!

Happy Gardening and Happy Saving!