Have you seen the SNL skit? The one where Christopher Walken is an indoor gardener scared of his own plants? Most men are not so afraid of plants they’ll put googly eyes all over their gardens, but plenty of guys are intimidated by the idea of gardening or landscaping. Maybe you’re scared it’s a woman’s thing, and the whole process will unman you. Maybe it’s because it sounds suspiciously like yard work, and you already give up enough of your Saturday mowing the lawn. It’s the opposite; you love your lawn and you don’t want it to do anything to your yard that can’t be taken back. Whatever the reason you’re a little scared of the plants in your yard, or in a garden, we’ve got you covered. These eight tips will turn your flora from foe to friend!
Historically speaking, we describe men as hunters, and women as gatherers. But no matter who you are, nothing is more satisfying than reaping what you sow. Plenty of vegetables are easy to grow, and hard to mess up, and if your garden saves you money on groceries, aren’t the few extra hours in the yard worth it? Especially for garden-fresh potatoes, carrots, beans, and peppers which are so easy to grow it barely adds to your weekly chore list. What’s more manly than eating something that was in your space, right?
Maybe it’s the flowers you’re worried about. Flowers are delicate and can sometimes be difficult to keep alive. They’re also very pretty and feminine. Hardly a man’s garden. Except when a flower is a killer. Marigolds, some varieties of heather or thistle, and chrysanthemums are naturally good at killing aphids, and other garden-killing insects. Getting the right flowers isn’t always about choosing what’s prettiest. Just be careful to never turn your back on these natural grown killers!
Gardening tools are put through a lot. If you’re just starting out, make sure to invest in the best gardening tools you can. You will at least need a rake, hoe, a shovel or spade, and pruning shears. These should be sturdy stainless steel to last several seasons.
To choose the right tools, assess the size, and how comfortable the grip is for you. Power tool options are available in some cases. Powered pruning shears would make your life a lot easier, whether you’re dealing with the shrubs and trees in your yard, or a prickly rose bush.
Soil is everything when you’re talking about gardening. If you spend a lot of time in the yard with a riding lawn mower, or a leaf blower, you might already have something in the garage for mulching. So much the better! You’ll want to mulch early in the season, to give the opportunity for seedlings to sprout up, and last years perennials to make a reappearance.
Before you mulch, you should also be sure the ground is wet and unfrozen, so that the soil can be absorbed by the nutrients in the mulch. So whenever you’re using your leaf blower, think about the fact that you’re giving your garden a great meal.
Shrubs are a great opportunity for gardening. They serve many purposes, from the practical to the aesthetic. They’re great to fill out a space, provide climate control in both winter and summer, and make a great accent for pools and walkways. The shrubs are altogether a great landscaping option.
Choose a shrub that’s going to fit the rest of the yard. If you have flower beds, be aware what variety of shrubs may crowd out other plant life. Some shrubs can grow as high as ten feet, so if you’re concerned about sun exposure, choose something shorter. If your yard has a slope, you may consider a low growing variety that will eventually fill the slope in.
Your garden is not your lawn. Especially in summer months, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to over water. You should water a garden, whether flowers or vegetables, at the same time you water your lawn. Too much moisture can cause mold and fungus to grow on flowers, and encourage insects that kill vegetables or fruits.
Regular soakings, followed by long breaks give the soil time to draw the water into your garden. Don’t treat your garden like a delicate flower! Gardening takes a little more work than lawn care, but over-watering is not the answer.
If you’re really not the gardening type, and you’d rather stay indoors, there are plenty of low maintenance plants.Cacti are always an option, but if you really do have a phobia, plants with spikes are probably not the answer for you! Okay, we’re joking again. But if you live in a dryer climate, or a neighborhood with water caps, you may want to look into plant varieties that don’t need much water. For vegetables, try Swiss chard, sweet potato or eggplant. All legumes are drought-resistant, including chickpea, black eyed pea or lima bean. Be aware, if you’re growing something that doesn’t take much water, you’ll have to adhere to strict water schedules to make sure the plants take. They also need a healthy layer of mulch.
Plants are tricky. Some plants are bullies, and push out others as they grow. Others are poisoned, or prickled. Maybe you’re someone who spends a lot of time on your lawn, and you don’t want to mess it up by planting things that grow badly, or ruin your landscaping. Maybe you’re someone who would rather stay out of the yard, or sees flowers as a woman’s past-time, and you don’t want to make more yard work for yourself.
If you’re afraid of plants and gardening, we’re sure you’ll find something useful in these tips. Good luck out there!
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