Five Ways To Improve Your Gardening Skills and Knowledge

comments (0) January 2nd, 2010

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Tee_Riddle Tee_Riddle, member
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Unfortunately, for most of us gardening is not a year round activity. The winter months can have us gardeners yearning for warmer days and blue skies. Although winter is in full force here in the States, that's no reason to stop sharpening our skills and knowledge of gardening. I have found that there is always something new to learn about gardening, and winter is the perfect time to improve your gardening prowess. Here are five ways that you can improve your gardening skills and knowledge:



Perhaps you purchased a couple gardening books during the summer, but never had time to read or finish them. Now is a great time to do that. Well written gardening books are an invaluable source of information about your favorite gardening topics. Perhaps you are interested in learning a new form of gardening, a new technique, or a new style of gardening - there is more than likely a book on the subject. You can also read gardening magazines, and visit gardening websites (such as Vegetable Gardener). Another great resource on the web is the Horticulture departments of universities. Here are a few university horticulture departments I enjoy visiting:

Your local library is a valuable source of gardening books and magazines. The great thing about library items is they are free to use. If you are interested in a particular gardening subject, make sure to check with your local library branch.



I can't tell you how much I have learned about gardening just by talking with other gardeners. It seems that everyone has a different way of doing things - a different methodology - that brings new ideas and new practices. I remember when I was a child sitting around a wood stove with my grandfather as he talked about gardening with his friends. Those were some very lively chats, but they always shared their techniques - some that worked great, some that were total busts. The point is, they always shared their gardening tales, and learned from one another.

If you don't know anyone else that gardens, maybe you can join a local gardening club, or participate in gardening clinics (or workshops) held by your local nursery. If you are out for a walk (or driving) stop and talk to someone that you may see out working in their garden. This might prove to be difficult for someone that is shy, but it is well worth the venture. I do this quite often, and have met some great people (and gardeners) doing so.

Another way of communicating with other gardeners is participating in gardening forums, or message boards, on the internet. I like to frequent a couple sometimes just to read, or ask a question myself. Try to participate as much as you can, and do not be afraid to ask questions. Most of the folks on gardening forums are very helpful and friendly.



As the old saying goes, "Practice makes perfect". This is also true with gardening. Really, it is just getting out there and doing it. Many times I have heard someone that is interested in gardening say, "I just don't know how to". The best advice I can give them is to just get out there and start gardening. The more you garden the more you will pick up on things, and the better at it you will get. Sure, it is very difficult to do that during the winter months.

During these times, try your hand at indoor gardening. Indoor gardening will give you the ability to grow some vegetables and herbs during those cold winter months. Not only will you have fresh herbs and salad greens during winter, but this will keep your gardening skills fresh and honed.



Experimenting with different methods and techniques is a great way to improve your gardening skills. How do you know how a certain plant may or may not react to something unless you try it out? I would not recommend doing this to your whole garden, but you can devote a couple plants in your garden to experimentation. Try different fertilizers, a different watering schedule, new pruning techniques, or maybe try a different cultivar of a particular vegetable. The possibilities are virtually endless. Experimenting can go a long way towards learning something new.



Sharing is not necessarily a skill or knowledge, but it is a must-do when gardening. Whether you share your expertise in a subject, or share your vegetables with a neighbor - sharing is a very rewarding part of gardening. A fellow gardener and I have a friendly competition on who has the best looking and best tasting tomatoes each year. We gather up our best tomatoes and share with one another. We talk about how we grew them, what fertilizers we used, how we pruned or did not prune - all while sitting down to a big plate of sliced tomatoes. Notice how this ties in nicely with talking as well?

Sharing is not just about giving away your hard earned vegetables. It is about building relationships, community, and goodwill. For me, those things are the quintessential reasons for growing a vegetable garden.


If you read, talk, practice, experiment, and share, your gardening skills and knowledge will be keen and sharp as a tack come Spring.




posted in: Gardening, gardening skills