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How A Simple Indiana Farm Boy With NO Green Thumb Learned How To Create His Own Beautiful Garden In Less Than 7
Transformed From An Indiana Farm Boy With NO Green Thumbs Into A Knowledgeable “Backyard Gardener”
In Less Than 7 Days
Hi there! Are you a gardening disaster, unable to keep even the most vicious of WEEDS growing? Do you have two
“left” thumbs—yearning to become two “green” thumbs with regards to YOUR OWN successful backyard garden? Yes? Good,
because that’s what I want to share with you. . . how I knew NOTHING about the basics of lawn maintenance and
gardening, and transformed myself into a knowledgeable “backyard gardener” that has begun the process of
cultivating my own little “patch of Heaven” to enjoy with my wife and kids.
How about you?
Are you looking to learn the basics? Want to revamp your existing, lifeless and limp garden into a vibrant and
flourishing haven? What about that dream of always having your very own vegetable garden? Are you thinking of
quitting to soon, when it comes to learning how to cultivate your own “homemade” fruits that you loving would be
eager to share with friends and neighbors?
The starting point is to determine the finish line for you.
In the words of Stephen Covey--“Begin with the end in mind!” It’s okay to give yourself permission to dream a
little bit. When’s the last time you walked around the family “homestead”, whether that’s a real acre or more of
raw land or maybe just a small patch of dirt off the apartment patio?
I have learned the basics on a variety of garden topics and have started to turn my knowledge into action with my
Let’s just be upfront that NO ONE can become a master gardener without years of experience and increasing their
knowledge base. BUT, as is my case, I can guarantee that YOU can raise yourself to a “backyard gardener” standard
by absorbing the experience and knowledge of other successful gardeners!
I am doing it—you can too!
Let me summarize some of what I have been able to learn and apply in my own life by giving a little demonstration
of my own “before and after” knowledge:
THE BEFORE PICTURE:
Grass & Lawn care—Grass is what the “yard” is made up of. I know there are a couple of different
kinds, only one I can think off of the top of my head is “crab grass”. Also know how to use a lawn mower and a
“weed eater” to trim along the driveway and sidewalks.
Flowers—Bought in a pot or planter of some sort from the nearest Home Depot or Lowe’s store. Require watering; but
degree of shade and life cycle of a certain flower . . . what’s that? ;-)
Vegetables—WHEN we eat them with dinner, they come straight from the market (usually in a can or a frozen back,
right?). Of course, being from Indiana, I was raised on corn, green beans, peas, etc. Don’t give me any of that
“foo-foo California vegetables” and stuff—like asparagus and such that my wife, native Southern California girl
that she is, just LOVES! :-) And growing them? Fo’get ‘bout it!
Fruits—Peaches, oranges and apples are an easy to think of since the fruit is right there hanging off the tree for
the taking, BUT starting from scratch, who has the time and patience to MAINTAIN these bad boys?
The Seasons—Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, right? But what about “zones” for differences in climate and
environment across the U.S.? I have no idea EXCEPT that palm trees seem to do really well in Southern California!
Gardening Tools—A spade? That’s either a little hand shovel or it’s a type of symbol when playing cards. . . as
mentioned above, my “tool” knowledge consisted of the lawn mower, a “weed eater” and a pair of gloves. Not
THE AFTER PICTURE:
Grass & Lawn care—Lawns tend to be one of the most labor intensive and repetitive jobs in your landscaping
endeavors. By the way, most lawns are a mixture of grass types, and allows for the ‘ol “survival” of the fittest to
take place. Reducing your lawn area by using different types of ground cover or flower beds will provide some
enhanced beauty and lessen the overall work load! Ground cover is foliage that applies to many types of plants.
Though many different kinds for different uses, they all tend to spread horizontally very rapidly often by vining
or creeping plants.
Flowers—There are several types of flowers to plan into your “patch” but one of the “regular favorites” is annuals
because they bloom so fully, and the amazing color. The essence of an annual is that it germinates from a seed,
growing into a mature plant that flowers, then sets its seed and finally dies. All of this happens in a single
growing season. I also know now that “deadheading” is when you remove the fading flowers so that you prevent the
seed formation and the bulbs will keep flowering!
Vegetables—When planning a vegetable garden, like my wife and I are currently doing, we have learned to focus on
two things: 1.) creating a rich, abundant soil and 2.) spacing plants in beds instead of rows. Growing plants
together will allow them to shade the ground, reducing evaporation from the soil and discouraging weeds. Also keep
in mind that you don’t want to have to recruit an “army of workers” come harvest time! Planning and organizing your
goals with regards to vegetables will help create a fun and enticing experience with less “back breaking” chores to
Fruits—I have learned what one of the MOST FRIENDLY types of fruits a weekend gardener, like us, can grow is . . .
Do you know what it is? Its blueberries! Why? Because they require very little pruning and that pruning needs very
little skill to accomplish. Just my cup of tea—low maintenance and a hearty enough fruit to survive my inexperience
and low skill level!
The Seasons—Originally I only thought of “gardening” when it came to Springtime and all the new life to enjoy—the
flowers blooming, the bees working their way from one to the next, sunshine and fresh air! Not the case! Little did
I know or even think about was the fact that you can do some “good work” all year long that will enable your garden
to flourish and expand even more so during the “blossom” time. Also depending on which type of “zone” your in will
help determine how much of a weekend gardening game plan you will want to plan, work and enjoy! Just as an FYI,
check out the National Arboretum site for information about your temperate zone:
Gardening Tools—A spade, the traditional English digging tool, has a flat, rectangular blade, attached at an angle
to a short handle. They are useful for digging up the ground with your weight behind them. Mattocks are a digging
tool that looks like a thick axe head and can be used to cut roots and for difficult soil types like rocky,
hard-baked clay. A bulb planter cuts out a circle of earth as you jam it into the soil. You then insert the bulb
and knock the soil back in to cover.
See, it’s just a matter of learning the basics! Again, if I can do it—then so can you! And these are just the
See? What did I tell ya? I’ve gone from a “know-nothing” farm boy and changed myself into a somewhat knowledgeable
“weekend gardener” in hardly anytime at all.
Of course, this is just the beginning. I am just getting started with the planning and planting! BUT, the great
thing is that this has now given my wife and my boys something to have the whole family involved with! What can we
come up with as a family to grow together?!? It’s very exciting and awesome to now be able to spend some great time
together outside and enjoy God’s creation by being part of the “growing” cycle.
I hope you find enjoyment and happiness in developing your own “weekend gardening” skills and knowledge. Just get
started! That’s what I did, and you can too!
About the author:
Jerold Johnson is the author of the brand NEW book that spoofs Atkins and the dieting industry! In his spare time,
he wanted to learn how to start turning those ugly, dead dirt spots in the backyard into something amazing--a
beautiful garden spot! You can do it too!
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