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Curses of a Black Thumb Wannabe Gardener

Throughout my life I’ve enthusiastically put great effort into various pursuits only to fail miserably, and gardening is the latest and perhaps most heartbreaking. My love of working in the yard and growing things goes back to my childhood, when my dad and I were two-of-a-kind hardworking gardeners. As an adult, I’ve killed more than anyone’s fair share of houseplants. But yard work and gardening are where my roots grew deep! So I’ve been making a go at that for a while now, only to be defeated planting season after planting season. Dad is gardening in heaven now. So he can’t help. Unfortunately, there are many things that can go wrong, especially for those who aren't exactly naturals at gardening or who lack the education or know-how to make a garden flourish.

Is the Soil Sick?

I don’t really know why plants fail to thrive under my care, but it could be because of soil. When looking up reasons gardens fail, soil is a biggie. According to experts, you are supposed to check out the health of the soil. The advice is “Test your soil to see what it needs.” Okay. How the heck does a person test soil? I’m not an agriculturalist. I’m just a lady with a garden. Yes, I actually went to a college that specialized in things like forestry and agriculture, but those weren’t my majors.

The most I know about soil is that if you eat food-grade diatomaceous earth, it can help clean you out. I know people who eat dirt and I’ve studied that. Still don’t know how to check soil for health—or taste quality, for that matter.

Know Where the Sun is Bright, Partial, and Full

Some plants demand bright sun and others need partial sun, while others should be protected from full sun. A gardener is supposed to plot the garden to correspond to the pattern movements of sun and shade. That strategery may be child's play to countless millions. As for me, it’s like rocket science. Didn’t major in that, either.

Plant Depth and Spacing

The roots on plants grow in various ways, such as really deep or side-to-side, and some need more air than others, apparently. There is a certain depth at which plants must be placed in the earth. I don’t know how to eyeball such things as varying plant depth. Do gardeners have gardening rulers? Could it be my plants have withered away because I got these aspects of planting wrong? It’s possible, I suppose. Anyone’s guess is as good as mine and potentially much better.

It’s a Bunch of Fertilizer

Since all of my gardening efforts have gone the way of fertilizer, I’m very tempted to give up. But I’ve decided that I’m going to keep trying. I can live without other failed efforts, such as piano-playing, but gardening will potentially make me too happy. Will forge ahead, to shed the curses of gardening without the benefit of a green thumb! First stop? The library. There’s got to be plenty about soil health. Guess my studies aren’t going to end with my B.S. in business, after all.

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