10 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Gardening

You might not believe it, but you were born with a green thumb. It may have gone untended for a while, but it's there waiting for you to nudge it awake. Put away your theory of being a plant killer, that anything dies under your care. Forget those nagging thoughts of where your garden will live or when you'll find the time, it's there somewhere. It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you'll get more than you give. So, here are 10 tips for conquering your fear of gardening:

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Gardening Tips for Renters

Want to bring more green to your house or apartment? Using a few easy, inexpensive techniques, <a href="http://www.thehorticult.com/">The Horticult</a> shows how you can garden like you own the place -- without risking your security deposit. You don't have to own your home to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Grow your favorite plants and create an inspired landscape -- or patio, interior, or balcony -- using these fun, low-commitment methods. (Although you might want to check with your landlord about the larger projects!) And if you move, you can take it all with you. These 10 tips for renters will give your garden a new lease on life.

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Summer Checklist

Summer is a gardener¿s busiest season. If you¿re short on time or not sure what to do, follow this easy summer gardening checklist to keep your lawn and garden in great shape all season long.

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Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Drought! The word itself strikes fear into the hearts of gardeners everywhere. Scarce water resources, especially in hard hit areas such as California and Texas, are making it almost impossible to maintain traditional style lawns. That's why many people are replacing their lawns with groundcovers and native plants. But for those who want a lush green lawn, here are some less-thirsty options.

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How to Improve Garden Soil

Many homeowners inherit bad garden soil ¿ but you don¿t have to live with it! Learn how to get the best garden soil possible through amendments, composting, and more.

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Top Shade Perennials

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Landscape Ideas

Landscape ideas provide inspiration, and studies show that upgrading your landscape will add value to your home. Here are some great landscape ideas to improve your home's outward appeal.

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Popular in Gardening

Raised Garden Beds: Grow a Vegetable Garden in Raised Beds

Raised garden beds make vegetable gardening less work. Learn the benefits of raised bed gardening, how to build a raised garden bed, and what you need to do to make a raised vegetable garden.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Benefit: Save Your Back with a Raised Garden Bed

      Raised-bed vegetable gardening can reduce back strain because you won’t have to bend over as far to reach the plants. With easier access and less pain potential, you're better able to enjoy the labor involved in planting, tending, and harvesting your raised vegetable garden.

      Raised garden bed tip: Build your raised garden beds so they're at least 12 inches tall. If the walls are slightly below waist level, you can sit on edges to work the soil and harvest your bounty without having to bend over at all.

    • Benefit: Grow Longer in Raised Garden Beds

      The soil in raised vegetable garden beds typically warms earlier in spring than the surrounding earth. It also tends to dry faster, so you can get cool-season crops planted sooner, extending the growing season and your vegetable crop choices just by using raised gardens.

      Test Garden Tip: To extend the gardening season for your raised garden beds, fashion hoops like these and then drape plastic over them. The makeshift cold frame will help you gain a few extra growing weeks in spring and autumn.

    • Benefit: Keep Clean with Raised Vegetable Gardens

      Spread mulch over the paths between your raised vegetable garden beds and your feet will stay clean, no matter how wet the weather. Because you won't walk on the raised garden beds, you'll be able to run out to grab a handful of fresh basil for dinner without worrying about compacting the soil.

    • Benefit: Overcome Bad Soil with a Raised Vegetable Garden

      Raised vegetable gardens are the answer if you have sandy or clay soil. Instead of struggling with poor topsoil, all you need to do is fill your raised garden beds with high-quality topsoil and start gardening. Nutrient-rich soil means fewer struggles for plants and less frustration for the gardener. To keep the soil in raised vegetable gardens healthy, continue to feed it with compost and other organic matter.

    • Benefit: Reduce Weeds with Raised Bed Gardening

      Once your raised raised vegetable garden beds are filled with fresh soil, cover the surface with an inch or two of mulch. This reduces weed competition and preserves soil moisture in your raised garden beds.

    • Benefit: Stop Grass from Invading with Raised Gardens

      Lawn grasses, which have spreading root systems, often infiltrate a standard vegetable garden and become a serious weed. But when you practice raised vegetable gardening, nearby turf won't be able to spread into your vegetable crops.

    • Benefit: Stop Pests with Raised Vegetable Gardens

      Even with raised bed vegetable gardening, critters such as rabbits or moles can make a mess of your vegetables. One way to thwart them is with tall raised garden beds. Design and build raised garden beds that are at least 4 feet tall to discourage these invaders.

    • Benefit: Make Your Garden More Attractive with Raised Gardens

      Set up a series of small raised vegetable garden beds in tidy rows or a pattern and you'll end up with the most visually appealing vegetable garden on your block.

    • Benefit: Never Till Again with Raised Garden Beds

      Raised vegetable garden beds provide a healthier environment for beneficial microorganisms and earthworms because there's no foot traffic to compact the soil. And you avoid the time and expense of tilling with raised gardening beds.

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      Design Tip: Keep Raised Vegetable Garden Beds Narrow

      Wondering how to make a raised garden bed? Build your raised vegetable garden beds so you can easily reach the middle from both sides. Most raised gardens are 4 feet across because the average person can easily reach about 2 feet.

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      Design Tip: Space Raised Garden Beds Correctly

      In your raised vegetable gardening plans, leave enough space between the beds to easily maneuver a wheelbarrow for adding soil, harvesting, spreading mulch, or other activities. Similarly, if you have grass paths between your raised vegetable garden beds, make sure you build your raised garden bed with enough space to comfortably run your lawn mower.

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      Design Tip: Use Long-Lasting Materials for a Raised Vegetable Garden

      When selecting materials for your DIY raised garden beds, choose rot-resistant lumber such as cedar or redwood. Or look for other materials, such as brick, stone, or concrete, to create build raised beds you won't need to rebuild. Get the wood look when making a raised garden bed with composite materials.

    • Materials for Raised Garden Beds
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      Materials for Raised Bed Gardens

      Learn more about how to build raised garden beds with long-lasting materials.

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      Design Tip: Add Decorative Elements to Raised Gardens

      Raised vegetable gardening bed designs can be attractive landscape features. Dress them up with details that add style to their utilitarian form. For example, give corner posts in a raised garden a cap or paint the wood frames to match your house.

      Test Garden Tip: A wide variety of premade post caps is available at your local hardware store or home improvement center. Post caps for raised garden beds come in materials including wood, copper, and glass. Some even have solar lights incorporated, adding highlights to your raised garden bed.

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      Design Tip: Come Up with a Pattern for Your Raised Garden Beds

      Raised vegetable garden beds are often set up as squares or rectangles that run parallel to one another. But you can add some fun to your raised-bed gardening landscape by arranging the raised garden beds in different geometric shapes or patterns. For example, mimic the lines of an architectural feature on your home. Whatever shape you design, remember to allow yourself room to reach into the raised garden beds and to move between them.

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      Design Tip: Grow Up with Vines in Raised Garden Beds

      Include trellises, obelisks, or tuteurs in your raised-bed vegetable gardening plans. Buy or build one or two to grow vining crops such as peas, beans, cucumbers, and even tomatoes. The extra height of these raised vegetable gardens brings visual drama to your plantings, especially if most of what you grow is relatively short.

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      Next Slideshow How to Build a Raised Bed

      How to Build a Raised Bed

      Raised beds make growing any plant easier. Use these easy instructions to build your own raised beds.
      Begin Slideshow »

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