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Starting your first vegetable garden requires a little bit of knowledge and planning and a whole lot of can-do attitude. You have to be willing to learn as you go, but before you grab that shovel and say “Let’s do it!”, review these warnings. They’ll ensure your first garden rewards you with the sweet taste of success.

Fertilizer Mistakes

Beefing up your soil is a good thing, but adding fertilizers at the wrong time, or adding too much of it, can ruin a crop. Pay close attention to the instructions for amounts and timing. It’s better to test your garden soil months before planting so you can add the specific amendments it needs.

If it’s late in the season and you need to plant right away, you’re not out of options. Give a new garden site a boost by adding several inches of compost. Organic fertilizers are slower to release their nutrients, but will last longer. Most can be added close to or at the same time as planting, but as with synthetic fertilizers, pay close attention to instructions. If your soil is not ideal for a garden in one way or another (bad drainage, very poor soil), consider raised beds to which you can add purchased rich topsoil.

Overwatering

Many beginners wrongly assume that there can’t be too much of a good thing. Water, like fertilizer, should be applied correctly to produce healthy vegetables. Deep watering with sufficient intervals will coax plants to develop deep root systems. In general, a vegetable garden needs one inch of water per week. Avoid overhead sprinkling, which can promote fungus and mildew. The ideal watering system is a slow-drip method, as with a drip-irrigation system. If you can’t afford an installed system, water with a hose by moving it around the garden, positioning a slow flow of water at the base of plants.

Shade and Overcrowding

Choosing the right location for your garden is very important. Healthy vegetable plants need at least six hours of full sunlight per day, and most plants will do better with more hours of direct sun. When you plot out where each variety will be placed in the garden, make sure one tall crop won’t completely shade it’s neighbor. Plant in rows that align east to west, and place the tallest crops on the north and the shorter crops on the south. It also helps to space plants adequately, according to the directions on a seed packet or seedling container. Use trellises for vining plants to take full advantage of garden space.

Biting Off More Than You Can Weed, Eat, or Store

When it comes to fresh produce, it’s easy to get a little carried away in the planning stages. Resist the urge to buy every variety you love, or a whole flat of tomato seedlings. Tending a large garden can consume a lot of time and energy. Your first year of vegetable gardening is a chance to learn the basics and a few pest-battling strategies. If you did get carried away, consider donating excess produce to a local food pantry or homeless shelter.

As you enjoy your first season of vegetable gardening, keep a journal of what you’re learning, and what you might want to try next year. When you bite into that first home-grown veggie, you’ll be thoroughly hooked.

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5 Little Life Hacks to Change Your World

Do you want to improve your life and become a better person? Of course, who wouldn’t? However, you might not know the best ways to change that are likely to have the maximum impact on your happiness and well-being. The five following life hacks are little, but applying them can enhance your energy, mood, and outlook.

Get up early

If you don’t usually get up early, you’re missing something special. Rise before everyone else, and you’ll experience a sense of peace and calm that’s not present the rest of the day. Also, you’ll get a head start. Early rising gives you the chance to ease into the morning and allow the night’s cobwebs to lift gently. Instead of rushing into everyday tasks, you can create a wise, positive intention to carry forth and set your mind as you wish. You can also begin chores sooner than you would if you got up later, and so complete them earlier, or be more productive.

Stop trying to be understood

Your happiness will increase if you cease wanting others to understand you. Seriously, you might not recognize how much time you spend fretting over whether others ‘get’ you, but it’s probably a lot. Just imagine how much less complicated life would be if you no longer cared if people had a good grasp on what you were thinking and feeling.

The good news is, it’s up to you. You can decide to drop worrying about how people’s perception of you might not match your innermost feelings and just enjoy being you.

Listen to your intuition

How often have you smacked your forehead in disbelief because you didn’t listen to the warning voice in your head and made a mistake? There’s no point saying “I knew that was going to happen” but not taking notice of your intuition the next time it speaks. From now on, respect your inner wisdom, whether it arises from a gut feeling or thought. As a result, you’ll have fewer problems.

Take a break

You live in a busy world where productivity pays, sometimes anyway. For this reason, you fill your days with activity, imagining doing so will be rewarding. Even if you’re only watching the TV or cleaning the kitchen cupboard, you’re doing something. Nonetheless, your activities often don’t make you happy because you’re stressed.

As cheesy as it sounds, stopping to smell the roses really will improve your well-being. When you slow down and do less, your anxiety decreases. You breathe a sigh of relief since pressure lifts.

Get rid of clutter

Declutter your home and your life will follow suit. You’ll think more clearly and be smarter and more positive when you don’t face mounds of junk each day. Walk from room to room, noticing where mess accumulates and consider how to accommodate it better – not by filling a box you never empty, but by putting it away in the right places.

First, though, you might have to create the “right places.” Hang hooks where items that can be hung are piled. Put goods that don’t need to live where they are back where they came from, and add storage containers where they are needed. Plus, schedule time in which to rehouse items that wind up in the wrong places, because, let’s face it, they still will occasionally.

These five little life hacks have the power to transform your well-being, but you have to do them rather than only reading about them. Add them to your routine behaviors until they become habits, and your life will improve.


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