Press-Republican

Columns

July 29, 2012

Ask a Master Gardener

Gardening can be an extremely rewarding pastime. It need not be expensive. In fact, it can save you money. It’s healthy and relaxing, even therapeutic. It’s educational and can result in learning new skills. And it can be taken in many of the usual, or in uniquely different, directions.

What’s more, because the end result of successful gardening is the production of beautiful blooms, an attractive lawn and/or a harvest of great-tasting vegetables, fruit and herbs, it’s a hobby that many beginners stay with year after year.

But, as it is with any hobby, gardeners do not become experts overnight. Keeping plants and gardens healthy and beautiful requires a lot more than luck. A successful garden requires time, effort and commitment. It takes persistence, knowledge and skill.

Even the very best gardeners experience problems. It’s knowing what to do when things go wrong that separates the veteran gardeners from the rookies. But learning how to deal with problems may be the best experience for a gardener who would like to master the craft.

Whether the problem is an insect, a disease or a four-legged or two-legged trespasser, someone else before you has shared the experience. More than likely, there’s a solution and it’s not very painful. And, while many garden problems may be associated with insects and disease, a great number are environment-related, things like over, under or uneven watering, lack of or too much sunlight, inadequate or excessive nutrition, or poor soil quality.

Do you have a gardening question? Maybe you have a plant that doesn’t look healthy or you’ve found bugs damaging your plants’ leaves? Want a few tips on growing the best garden vegetables and when to harvest them? How about some advice concerning compost

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