Over the years I’ve heard so many times, “I wish I could grow things like you do, but I have a black thumb.”
This is nonsense. There’s no such thing as a black thumb; there is only a lack of knowledge and the black thoughts that creep into your mind to convince you that you can’t be a gardener. Plants need four things to grow; light, moisture, nutrients, (usually found in soil) and the correct temperature range. If you provide these four things you can grow any plant, anywhere.
When you buy a plant or seeds they have a tag or label on them. Read it. The label is there for your benefit and tells you all you need to know about what the plant requires. If the plant is a gift and has no tag, go to a library or go on line and read about it.
Many of the most common mistakes I see are entirely preventable because more often than not, the problem was caused either by not reading the label or by ignoring what it said. If the plant requires full sun and fertile, constantly moist soil and it’s planted in the shade in sandy soil and watered only occasionally, there’s the black thumb. If the label had been read first the plant would have done fine.
Any gardener worth his spade will admit that he or she didn’t become a gardener by wishing and hoping; it took time, patience, effort and study, and studying the plants themselves to get to know them is as important as reading about them. Would you marry someone you had only read about, or would you get to know them first?
But, you may be thinking, we don’t marry plants. You’d be right of course, but an asparagus bed can produce for 100 years or more. Peony plants have been known to last 75 years. You may find yourself spending a lifetime caring for and seeing to a plant’s needs, and that’s about as close as one can come to a marriage. Wouldn’t it be nice to really know those you were devoting so much time to?
Someone once said “Fifteen minutes per day spent studying any subject will make you an expert in that subject.”
If you want to be an expert gardener, study the plants you want to grow. First learn how to care for them and then believe in your ability to provide what they need. If you do, you’ll find that your “black thumb” has miraculously turned green.