Blooming With Confidence – Real-Life Success Stories From New Gardeners

Gardening mistakes can happen to anyone, from planting an invasive species to using chemicals that aren’t safe for pets or children. But these gardeners took the lessons learned from their mistakes to turn those missteps into blossoms of success.

Conor Crickmore transitioned from technology to market farming without prior farming experience; his wife soon followed, purchasing their property on Neversink River, where they now cultivate various crops on 1.3 acres.

Getting Started

Gardening is one of those activities that, once learned, can bring great pleasure and self-sufficiency. From growing flowers and vegetables to tending bushes and hedges for an outdoor oasis – gardening offers something suitable for every interest and skill level.

Starting a garden from scratch may seem intimidating, but plenty of resources can assist you on your journey. First, decide on the kind of garden you wish to establish: a cutting garden, a pure wildflower garden, or a vegetable and herb garden.

Once you have decided what type of garden you wish to create, begin by designing your planting bed. Make sure you have good soil by amending and mixing in organic matter; additionally, ensure there is enough space for what you are planting.

Watering should also be carefully considered. Nothing wears a new gardener down like transporting large quantities of water for thirsty plants, so be prepared by installing a drip irrigation system or having extra hoses ready.

Finally, you must invest the time in getting to know your plants. Understanding their individual needs and requirements for growth and blooming allows you to feel proud as your flowers blossom into beautiful specimens. It is also an opportunity to learn from mistakes—if your plants develop fungal diseases, don’t panic; just research the cause, as this could help you become an experienced gardener!

Planting Seeds

By starting seeds yourself, you can save money and gain control over their development compared to purchasing them at a nursery. Furthermore, more varieties of plants may become available than would otherwise be found there.

Seeds should typically be started indoors eight weeks before their last expected frost date in your region, then transplanted out later into your garden or an outdoor container. A germinating station such as a tray or shallow pan equipped with lighting and moving air may help ensure proper conditions for growing seeds to sprout and mature successfully.

Seed packages should indicate whether their seeds should be started indoors and may provide an approximate date when they can be planted outdoors. You can also consult with local extension services or online databases to learn when the last frost date in your region will arrive.

Once your seedlings are ready to be transplanted outdoors, they need time to adapt to sunlight and temperature conditions in your garden. Watering before and after transplanting may help them adjust more quickly.

Some plants, like beans, carrots, radishes, and turnips, do best when directly seeded in the garden when conditions allow. But heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants tend to fare better when started indoors early.


Watering is critical to garden success, particularly during hot and dry summer temperatures. Tom was determined this year to keep his crops hydrated, and his efforts paid off; his bumper crops of cucumbers, edamame beans, tomatoes, and zucchini resulted.

An example of such an “ah ha!” moment would be learning more about your plants and their needs. Another one of his revelations came when he began using organic fertilizer in his garden to assist its growth, yet discovered it may not be safe for either his plants or the environment.

This lesson serves as a great reminder to conduct soil testing before amending with products like compost or manure. Too often, people assume that what works for someone else will also work for their soil conditions, which may differ significantly.

As many new gardeners seek support, community gardens provide invaluable guidance. Here, you will find close relationships and knowledge sharing, which can make an enormous difference; academics have even studied how community greening boosts social capital such as trust, cooperation, reciprocity, and networks.


Gardening’s most exciting aspect is seeing your harvest come to fruition. After planting vegetables, fruit, or flowers in a garden bed, they typically will continue growing until ready for consumption or picking; harvesting then means taking this produce or plant from its environment and taking it from either hand-harvesting or machinery such as a combine harvester.

Some crops can be more challenging to harvest than others and often require special tools to be done efficiently and successfully. Saffron requires special harvesting tools, while vanilla beans must be harvested from trees using a sickle.

Practice will enable you to recognize when to harvest your crop. Some crops will show signs of being ready when their color turns bright green, while others might exude an aromatic or sweet-tasting fragrance when touched.

As part of our coronavirus quarantine, many community gardeners shared how their gardens helped them flourish despite the pandemic. Successes included everything from overcoming challenges on their soil to growing more than ever possible.

Ryon McCamish, new to gardening this year, planted her inaugural vegetable garden and harvested enough food for herself and five other families! Annie O’Connor founded Seed and Vine in Columbus, Ohio, to help people experience the simple joys of picking fresh produce and flowers right from their backyards. You can read their stories below! They had distinct paths leading them down their respective journeys as garden coaches, but they shared one key trait – an affinity for gardening!

Taking Care of Your Plants

As with houseplants and garden plants, regular observation of your plants is the key to ensuring they flourish. Watch for changes in leaf color or stem width that could indicate disease or infection as soon as they arise, while checking them weekly for pests could prevent damage caused by dormant pests that lay dormant for weeks or even months before attacking and killing off the entire crop.

As you become more experienced with gardening, you’ll notice that your plants become increasingly independent as time goes on. This is an indicator that they are gaining trust in you and that their safety has improved in your care.

Ensure your plants receive sufficient sunlight and water to keep them happy and thriving. Organic fertilizer may also give them the essential nutrients required for continued growth. Always follow the recommendations on the seed packet or seek guidance from an experienced horticulturist.

This week, we spoke with Conor Crickmore, an ex-tech worker who opted to transition into market farming instead. With his wife Kate, he runs Neversink Farm – a 1.3-acre certified organic operation in New York’s Catskill mountains – without prior farming experience but plenty of passion and determination. Now, they produce incredible amounts of food year-round on their hilly property; listen as they share their journey and some lessons they have learned.

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