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Gardening is enjoyable for me for several reasons. It isn't just because I grew up on a farm where we had a large garden each summer. Gardening is my creative outlet, and gives me a sense of accomplishment. It is also amazing to watch plants respond to the seasons, come alive, and bear fruits. Add to that the exercise I get by gardening, and I consider it an ideal hobby. I look forward to retirement when I can put more of my time into what I love to do.
It isn't all easy, though. And I am learning a lot from mistakes. The soil isn't an inert constant factor, and I must be aware of what the soil provides and what it lacks. If I don't compensate for it's deficiencies, plants won't be productive and healthy. Each plant is different too, and may need special soil amendments. Basically, a healthy soil fosters healthy plants. In many ways, a healthy garden fosters a healthy me.
The soil in my garden and orchard is a heavy clay. The summers are hot and humid, but there are often long periods without rain. The soil fertility is low (deficient in nitrogen and potassium), and I have found that I need to regularly fertilize the soil for the trees to flower and produce any fruit at all. Garden produce, and especially sweetpotatoes, also depend on proper soil nutrients. Sweetpotatoes, being a root crop, need adequate levels of potassium and phosphorous, but not too much nitrogen, which would encourage vine growth at the expense of root production. And nothing would do well here without some watering during the dry summers (except native persimmons, which are adapted to this climate). A good layer of mulch is also quite important to conserve moisture and keep down the weeds.
Sat Apr 17 2010 at 9:40:59am