Years ago, a garden mentor friend came to visit my garden. As we strolled past all the raised beds of thriving vegetable plants, he commented on how healthy and lush everything looked. I explained all the things I did to make sure it looked that way. When I finally finished, he simply said; “that’s the difference between proactive and reactive gardening”. Proactive gardening will change your gardening life for the better. If you’re an organic or eco-friendly gardener, this podcast is for you!
BHG014 – Be Proactive, not Reactive; It’s the key to a successful Garden
Years ago, a garden mentor friend came to visit my garden. As we strolled past all the raised beds of thriving vegetable plants, he commented on how healthy and lush everything looked. I took that as an invitation to tell him about all the things I had done to make sure it looked that way. When I finally finished, he simply said; “that’s the difference between proactive and reactive gardening”.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was one of those ah-ha moments you never forget. For as long as I had been gardening, I never put a term to it, but that’s exactly what I had been doing all this time. It was nice to finally have a name for it.
Proactive gardening is simply doing all the things we’ve been talking about in our previous podcasts. It’s providing the best growing environment, like sunlight, great soil, and right plant, right place. It’s spacing your plants appropriately for air circulation and light, it’s watering properly and using plenty of mulch. Then it’s taking the time to stay in touch with your garden. The whole key to proactive gardening is to know your garden, so you can catch changes early to prevent possible problems later that requires a more severe “reaction”.
I haven’t been an organic gardening my whole life, but I have been gardening for about that long. In those earlier days, I remember chasing all kinds of problems, from pests overtaking my plants, to diseases and weed problems, and even the constant need to water! I’d chase every problem with a chemical or in the case of watering, spend hours with a hose in my hand. Well that was reactive gardening. And thank goodness those days are long over!
With proactive gardening, you take the time to get to know your garden and plants. Don’t just look at them from a distance as you stroll by. Stop! Admire them if you like, but definitely inspect them. Look under the leaves Do you see any egg clusters from pest insects? How about spotting leaves on your tomato plant? Are any leaves being eaten on your squash plants? As a proactive gardener, these are the types of things you’re looking for, early in the process, and I can’t emphasis that enough. The key to a proactive, thriving garden, without the use of chemicals, is to catch any adverse changes early and preemptively deal with them, before they get out of hand and you find yourself reacting in a more severe manner later. That’s not good for you, your garden, or the environment!
So if you want to have the best garden yet, and enjoy knowing it’s that way because of the steps you took to make it so, be a proactive gardener. Take the time to start your garden out right, and don’t stop there. By involving yourself in your garden frequently, you’ll be able to take simple steps to deal with what could be bigger problems later. It’s a lot more fun that way and you learn much more about being a better gardener in the process.
And if you want to learn a lot more about being a proactive gardener, then listen to all the podcasts in this series. We’ve got 26 episodes, all created to help you get your garden off to a great start, and see it through, all the way to harvest. You can subscribe to the entire series for free in iTunes. Or find them at burpeehomegardens.com, along with a lot more helpful ideas and inspiration anytime.
Thanks for listening! This is Joe Lamp’l, and we’ll see you back here next time for another Burpee Home Gardens Tip of the Week Podcast!
Now go get dirty!