Meet Pete: Dad-joke extraordinaire, gardening enthusiast, and certified father of the BCP employee writing this blog (hi!). Last weekend I had the privilege of visiting my parents back home to pick my dad’s brain for gardening tips and tricks. Follow along for an inside scoop on starting your own home garden.
My dad is constantly outdoors. Not only does he work outside, but even in his free time you’ll find him chatting with neighbors in the front yard or barbequing out back. It’s no surprise that this man loves to garden. When asked why he’s so passionate about it, he answered: “I just like the idea of growing something from a seed or small plant where you could come out and see the fruits of your labor—literally”.
GARDENING AS A HOBBY
Most of us spend our days staring at computer screens and commuting to and from work, so we don’t really get a chance to enjoy the outdoors as much as we should. My dad recommends gardening as a hobby to everyone because it allows you to “go out at the end of the day to relax and get rid of stress.” It gives you an excuse to “just hang out in the garden for a bit. It’s a nice way to end the day when you’re fighting traffic and all the rigmarole of the work week”. He explains that just being outside to tend to your plants “is very therapeutic by giving you a nice quiet way to unwind”.
BONUS: the harvest. My dad says, “growing your own food is very rewarding”, and I agree, “it doesn’t get any better or fresher than homegrown”.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE GARDENING?
My parents’ have had a garden for as long as I can remember, so I had to ask why he started gardening in the first place. He explained that there was “a lot of unused space in the backyard at our first house, so it was mostly a way to put that area to use. I had no idea I’d enjoy it so much”.
In their first garden he planted tomatoes and zucchini. Apparently, he “didn’t have much luck with the tomatoes, but the zucchini just took off”. Since then, he’s picked up plenty of tips & tricks to help anyone develop a green thumb of their own.
If you’re having trouble growing plants, be sure to check the PH of the soil. “PH is very important in plant growth so when it’s too high or too low, plants don’t do well. It took a while to realize that... Same with overplanting.”
Many people believe that you need to go big or go home, but when it comes to gardening, that’s not necessarily the case. My dad recommends to “start small”. He learned this lesson the hard way after overplanting tomatoes one season. We had more crop than we could give away and ended up eating tortilla soup every night for the entire summer! You can always plant more next season, but it’s always best to plant less to keep things manageable and ensure that you can give the proper attention to your garden.
For those just starting out, he suggests turning to potted plants before committing to a full-blown garden. He explains that “many plants do great in pots or containers because you can move them around to accommodate the seasons, weather, etc.”, so using potting benches and shelving are always recommended. They’re great for starting plants and nurturing seedlings before they’re ready to be planted in the ground and can help keep all your gardening supplies handy and well organized.
RECOMMENDED PLANTS FOR BEGINNERS
For your new garden to thrive, you need to choose plants that match the level of care you can provide with the environment they will grow in. If planting outdoors, Dad recommends starting with cherry tomatoes or blueberries because they’re fun and easy to take care of. Since my dad prefers to spend his time outdoors, he tends to neglect any indoor plants (sorry, not sorry), but if your backyard space is limited or the weather in your area is too harsh for most garden varieties, indoor plants can be a great solution. Ferns are great plants to grow indoors as they require mild temperatures and indirect sunlight. These plants tend to do best in humid temperatures but will thrive even in drier areas if misted regularly. There are countless varieties of ferns, so be sure to look up species-specific care tips if you decide to bring one home.
REQUIRED TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
To build your dream garden, you need the right equipment. These tools are considered basic necessities for all gardeners. Whether you’re interested in growing fruits, vegetables, or flowers, our gardening tool sets are sure to help make your garden bloom. Each kit comes with a variety of planting essentials such as spades, gloves, spray bottles, and shears. Choose between our handled bag or our 2-in-1 tool set seats.
Once you have the basics, you can choose planters to meet your garden’s needs. I had Dad check out some of our planters and he said that the 3-tier planters & elevated planters “would be great for small patio vegetable & herb gardens. They can be easily relocated and should help keep plants safe from snails & slugs”. He emphasized the benefit of using a planter vs planting directly into the ground, explaining that “raised planters allow you to bring in your own soil, which is very nice for people with lousy soil (like us)”. It gives you the opportunity to adjust the soil type to the plants you’re growing. Something as simple as soil can make the biggest difference between a thriving garden and a plant graveyard.
In addition to planters, you can bring your garden to new heights through the integration of a trellis. These are perfect for vines and are an easy way to add another level of greenery to your outdoor space. Most people are familiar with using a trellis for flowers, but you can also use them to grow vegetables like sugar snap peas (a great beginner plant) or even fruits such as grapes or passion fruit (like my dad).
Regardless of what you grow, gardening is a fantastic way to decompress and get back to your roots (pun intended). With these expert tips from dad, you don’t need to have a green thumb to grow a great garden.