National Gardening Month

By Susan Himes
April is National Gardening Month, so if you’re not already a gardener, now is the perfect time to try your hand at developing a green thumb. Experienced gardeners, in addition to “spring cleaning,” may want to learn a new skill or expand the scope of their gardens.

“Gardening Month was created years ago as a way to encourage more folks to venture into their outdoor space,” said Larry Stein, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulture specialist at Uvalde and professor in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Horticultural Sciences.
“No doubt the pandemic did a lot to stimulate many people to give gardening a try and some interesting statistics have emerged from that,” he said. “About 70% of the folks who tried gardening were successful and are increasing the size of their plantings.”
Gardeners should grow what they like. Stein said If you are ready to give gardening a try, the most important factor is to start small. He suggested a plot of 10 feet by 10 feet but no more than 20 feet by 20 feet to start. He also advised only planting what you like, whether that be vegetables you’ll want to eat, a pollinator garden to attract butterflies, or plants and flowers you find attractive.
“There is no point in using resources to grow things that aren’t appealing to you,” he said.
Stein said studies show the cost is around $70 to get started gardening and most people realize at least a $600 value from that activity. The most popular garden crop is tomato, followed by cucumber and sweet peppers.