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Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing, and she works full time in digital media with a large cable network. When she isn't at work, blogging, or washing someone's socks, Katie enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large and totally impractical, 113-year-old Victorian house.

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Learning to Grow a Garden: 17 Lessons From an Absolute Beginner

By Katie Allison Granju |

As anyone who reads my blog with any regularity knows, I have been getting really interested in gardening in the past two or three years, and this spring, I really dove head first into the gardening obsession (I think it’s more than a hobby for a lot of people) for the first time.

As a total newbie gardener, I have SO MUCH to learn and I am reading as much as I can and also picking the brains of other local gardeners who know their stuff. But much of what I am learning is just a matter of trial and error on my part — hands-on learning with my own plants and my own dirt in my own garden.

As summer gets into full swing and my spring efforts start to show their colors, I’ve realized that I’ve already learned quite a few things about how to make flowers and edibles grow (and not grow), just by seeing how things have gone for me.

I decided I’d share a little round-up of what my garden has taught me so far this spring (some of it the hard way!).

How Does Katie’s Garden Grow?

(Just click the arrow to the right of each photo to view the next one in the series)

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Gardening for Beginners: 17 Lessons I've Learned

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This photo is of the nice stand of sunflowers I grew in front of our house last summer.

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About Katie Allison Granju

katie-allison-granju

Katie Allison Granju

Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing. Katie also enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large Victorian house. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie Allison's latest posts →

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12 thoughts on “Learning to Grow a Garden: 17 Lessons From an Absolute Beginner

  1. eclecta says:

    Hi Katie,

    I realize this may not be possible, but is there a way for your slides to work so that moving from one to the other doesn’t require refreshing the *entire* page? I find it so slow that I never make it past the second slide of any of your decks. :S

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend. I hope the sabatical is going well. :->

  2. Katie Granju says:

    Eclecta – As far as how the sideshows work, that’s Babble’s call. And today their server appears to be messed up, making things move extra slow. But over on my own blog I am switching from this slideshow widget because of just this complaint from readers. I haven’t found a new one I am happy with yet, so would live suggestions from anyone reading this who uses a specific slideshow widget with their WP blog that works well.

    Sorry Eclecta. Thanks for reading, though!

    Katie

  3. jzzy55 says:

    You’re very funny about your gardening errors, which really aren’t that bad for novice.
    Not sure what kind of bee balm you are growing but even here in Zone 5/6 it’s a perennial.
    Some of your watering problem may have to do not just with quantity but with the time of day you are watering. Plants do not like to go to bed wet, especially in humid climates. Going to bed wet encourages proliferation of fungus and disease. It’s best to water first thing in the morning or later in the day (not between 11 and 3) but some hours before the sun goes down.
    Also, mulching (straw is good as are plastic or newspaper, but I doubt you want either of those in your pretty purple raised beds!) around tomatoes is essential because the splashing water (whether from rain or hose/watering can) causes fungus to bounce up from the soil onto the lower foliage, killing it off (leaves, then stalks will turn yellow and mottled and die back).

  4. Erin says:

    Just another comment on the slideshows, they drive me crazy and I rarely make it through an entire series. Looking forward to a new setup on your blog!

  5. Debbie says:

    I thought I was the only one with the slideshow issues. It does take a very long time for each page to refresh, not just today but any day. This also prevents me from looking at all of the slides. Hopefully Babble is aware of this and working towards a solution.

  6. Pepe says:

    Thanks for the gardening tips–we’re newbies, too. We’ve planted a ton–bamboos, mango tree, avocado, lime tree, papaya, jamaican caper, lychee–you name it, we’ve got it. But only the mango tree has given fruit. I wonder what we’re doing wrong?

  7. Deve says:

    It’s great that you have started gardening! Have you thought about composting as well? Its a great way to get good soil!

  8. bk says:

    Great tips!

  9. Cassie says:

    First off, it all looks beautiful. I’m so jealous of the outdoor space! (I have a little balcony and help my mom in her backyard when I can).

    Careful with that mint! Based on experience, you are going to regret having put mint in all of those beds. My mom and I struggle to keep it from completely taking over one bed (plus the lawn, since it’s not all the way raised) – it is so hard to get out!

  10. P says:

    I am gardening newbie, but living in New England, our gardening period is pretty limited and I love to see the success you are having with your garden.

  11. Jenny says:

    count me as one who just doesn’t have the patience for the refreshing. I didn’t want to bring it up, because it’s kind of rude to say.

  12. laura says:

    I wish I had time to garden – yours looks so great for a beginner! I have the PERFECT yard – just no time or $$

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