Gardening Without a Green Thumb

Growing up with a mother who can grow anything was intimidating for me since I wasn’t born with a natural green-thumb. I think us “NON-GREEN THUMBERS” carry that title around almost too afraid to even try. I’ve had many dead plants and more than a few failed gardens, but I never gave up. I began to turn my thumb green a few years ago, but kept the news to myself for fear it was a fluke. Yet, this year as gardening has become a new pastime for many practicing social distancing I thought I’d share a bit about my transformation into a “Green Thumber”…is that a thing?

I didn’t give up on plants because I have always found such pleasure in them. I am in total bliss when I’m outside in my garden with my knees and fingers dirty.

All Plants Have Specific Needs

It wasn’t until I realized I couldn’t just plant anything I wanted and hope it would survive. Learning that each plant had different needs helped me to find plants that could…and did…survive in my house and yard.

Read the tag that comes with the plants. This will tell you whether it prefers sun or shade. It’ll even describe how much water it needs.

Schedule Watering

Yes, I put “Water Plants” in my weekly schedule. I water on Wednesdays. Some plants need water a bit more often, so depending on the plant and how warm your weather gets, you may need to have two or more days to water.

A trick I learned was to put ice cubes in your plants (don’t let them rest against leaves) and they will slowly water your plants. I love to do this with my orchids.

Start with Easy Growers

The first plant I could successfully keep alive was a Golden Pothos. They are hardy and grow really well. I loved to put them in hanging planters because they grow long vines of bright green leaves. Other easy growers are Spider plants, cactus, Boston Fern, Rubber Plant, Weeping Fig, Peace Lily for indoors. Outdoors I like fuchsia plants, Hydrangea, pansies, geraniums, forget me nots, ferns, lemon balm, strawberries and lavender.

Just Plant Them In The Ground

My best advice for starting a garden is to begin. Just plant something. It’s in the doing that we learn. You need to take into consideration the needs of the plants of course, but by watching your plants grow you will learn what they need. The plants will tell you. If the leaves change and look funny or something is eating them google why and a remedy for it.

Our yard gets a ton of shade and because we live on the Oregon Coast we don’t get hot summers, but we do have mild winters. So I had to learn what plants would work here. Because of shade we can grow lettuce, spinach, and kale really well. We have one side of the house where we built garden beds for the plants that like the sun, such as tomatoes, peppers and strawberries.

Enjoy the Garden Friends

When you plant a garden you will find lots of new friends…snails, slugs, etc. I don’t like slugs in my garden, but I will move them else where. Snails can stay in my flowers, but not my garden. There are lots of tricks, so ask your garden friends or google ways of dealing with pests. A great way is to add hair clippings to the beds, it keeps the slugs and snails away. Also coffee grounds!

I like to imagine stories for our little snails that visit us. We have a few that stick around for a while and it’s fun to watch them.

Feeds the Birds

This year I decided to add bird feeders to our back deck. I put up a seed bird feeder as well as a hummingbird feeder (I’ll share links below).

Watching the birds has become an entertaining pastime. Oh and watching our indoor cats watch the birds is even more entertaining.

Here are links to the feeders:

(hummingbird feeder)

The bird seed feeder I purchased at Fred Meyers, but here are a couple similar ones.(option 1) (option 2)

You don’t have to be a green thumb to enjoy plants. Just begin somewhere and you’ll find your home and yard filled with plants soon enough.

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