Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Greetings from the mountains of New Mexico! In our new mountain garden we are busy restoring the long ago abandoned garden beds: weeding, building borders, and adding my favorite compost. In the years that we have been gardening, we have found a few helpful ideas that enable us to garden successfully, so I thought I would share them with you.
The number one factor is the location of the garden. Of course, you need to find a spot with enough sunlight, but beyond that, the most important thing is for it to be easily visible! Not just for ease of access, watering, and harvesting, but if the garden is located in the far, or out of sight, regions of your property you are less likely to care if it is a disheveled mess. When we lived in Minnesota, our garden was in the front yard visible to all the neighbors. Here in New Mexico, our garden can be viewed from the kitchen. A visible garden helps motivate you to keep it tidy and flourishing.
Another one of our favorite tricks to keeping our garden easy and enjoyable is to plant as many perennials (plants that will regrow every spring) as possible. You’ll spend less time working and buying new plants, and more time harvesting. We have perennials growing along the border of the entire garden: grapes, asparagus, chives, garlic, and berry bushes. In Minnesota, we were able to grow strawberries and rhubarb as perennials too.
A final thought for successful gardening: Know the specific vegetables that grow well in your area, when to plant them, and any other special considerations for them. Large, national chain stores will often sell a wide variety of plants, many of which are not well-suited to your area or your specific planting time. Purchasing plants from these types of stores often result in wasted planting efforts and money. We have a local organic nursery that provides us with helpful gardening information and only sells plants when they are ready to be planted. Most locally owned nurseries or local universities and colleges have material with gardening information for local conditions.
We love gardening for the way it provides food for our family, encourages us to be outside, and inspires us creatively. Find a few vegetables, fruits, or herbs you would enjoy harvesting and plant away. Happy gardening!