Final thoughts from a gardening expert

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Gardening expert Lee Reich wrote about planting flowers, vegetables and more on his land for 30 years.

In his last story he wanted to leave a lot to his readers Advice.

Over the years, he wrote about tomatoes, how to cut flowers, and the worries of pets eating houseplants.

He said he enjoyed writing about gardening for gardeners of all levels.

He decided to offer eight pieces of information to help people who grow plants at home, be it on a large piece of land or just with two or three containers inside.

Organic material

Reich said items that were once alive mix well with the soil that is used to grow crops. This includes leftover food, green cuttings, and leaves falling from trees. They help retain and nourish water in the soil Microorganisms the plants help.

Don’t panic about pests

Yes, Reich, he said, some insects can harm plants. But it is normal for insects as well mushrooms and other organisms that harm your garden. He said that people who work with plants have to learn to accept a little harm. When plants are injured, he says, they come back in other ways, for example, they get stronger where they are not injured. He said it was a good idea to be thoughtful and find a natural way to control insects before using any chemical treatment.

This undated photo shows the garden of the writer Lee Reich in New Paltz, NY. A mixed garden of vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruits can delight all the senses. (Lee Reich via AP)

Trust nature

Reich said that “Mother Nature” has long been helping the earth develop food and plants. Gardeners, he said, shouldn’t be too concerned about the naturally growing ground cover. Some people call that weed.

Reich also pointed out the importance of thinking carefully about the soil in which you are planting. Don’t put plants that are best in dry parts of the world where it is very wet. Avoid placing plants that do best in wet conditions where it is very dry.

Take photos and write notes

Every year, he said, it’s a good idea to take pictures of your garden and write down what you planted and when you did the job. That way, you can learn what worked and what didn’t. In the next year, you can decide what to plant based on your previous experience.

Former US President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Although I am an old man, I am a young gardener.” His archive show good notes about his gardens.

Don’t think like everyone else

This undated photo shows pale touch-me-not flowers in New Paltz, NY Much like our cultivated Impatiens, pale touch-me-not is considered a weed by some and a wildflower by others.  (Lee Reich via AP)

This undated photo shows pale touch-me-not flowers in New Paltz, NY Much like our cultivated Impatiens, pale touch-me-not is considered a weed by some and a wildflower by others. (Lee Reich via AP)

example 1: Some people think that weeding in the garden is not fun. But Reich says that’s not the right way to see the job. A good idea is to look at your yard and remove the weeds every three or four days. So the work never takes too long. When you change your mindset, a job that was once considered difficult can be fun. Another warning? Don’t turn the earth too much. This work often involves turning over weed seeds that would otherwise not grow.

Example 2: Reich said you should mix and match Plants and flowers. There’s no reason you can’t plant eggplants, peppers, and other vegetables with your flowers. These plants look great, and the flowers bring helpful insects like bees to the garden.

Example 3: You can plant fruit trees wherever you want. You don’t need any Orchard. Many fruit trees look beautiful in themselves and produce foods that taste great.

Get help from trusted sources

Reich wrote about plants for 30 years, but sometimes he has questions. In these cases, he does research on the Internet, but focuses his research on information from educational institutions and government agencies. Even if the sources are not 100 percent correct, they usually have good information. Sometimes the difference between good and bad information can be hard to tell when it comes from sources you don’t know well.

Grow different plants, especially those that you can eat

Sometimes bad weather can harm plants. In other cases, illness can hurt them. Growing ready-to-eat vegetables at different times of the year can ensure that you pick something good to eat earlier in the year even if you have trouble in August or September. In Reich’s experience, one year in the northeastern United States, a disease in late summer hurt many tomato plants. But this year he was already picking peppers, corn, kale and other vegetables.

This undated picture shows a garden of cabbage and other seasonal greens in New Paltz, NY. Growing fall vegetables is like a whole different growing season in the garden.  Cool weather brings the best taste out of vegetables.

This undated picture shows a garden of cabbage and other seasonal greens in New Paltz, NY. Growing fall vegetables is like a whole different growing season in the garden. Cool weather brings the best taste out of vegetables.

Don’t plant too much

You can get advertising. You can walk past a plant shop that looks nice. Even warm weather early in the year can inspire you to start planting. But Reich says it’s better to have a small garden than a big one. When friends come by, they come admire all of its fruits and vegetables. However, he warns: “Don’t do this at home!”

In the end, said Reich, maybe he doesn’t write so much. However, he will never stop working in his garden. He will be planting some new items and removing old ones over the next year. For example, he would like to plant rhododendrons and winter berries. He will build another stone wall that he can use to support cranberries and the cute dwarf box. The work never ends.

This undated photo shows water leaving a watering can in New Paltz, NY.

This undated photo shows water leaving a watering can in New Paltz, NY.

Even if he doesn’t write that often, Reich plans to continue writing on his own website – leereich.com. You can visit him there if you want to keep up with his work and maybe see photos of his new projects.

He will work hard, even on the cold winter days.

I am Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on a story by Lee Reich of the Associated Press.

What did you learn from Lee Reich that you apply in your garden? Tell us in the comment section and visit our Facebook page.

Quiz – Final Thoughts from a Gardening Expert

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Words in this story

Advice – n. an opinion or a suggestion what someone should do

Microorganism – n. an extremely small creature that can only be seen with a microscope

mushrooms – n. each from a group of living things (such as molds, fungi or yeasts) that often look like plants but have no flowers and live on dead or decaying things; the plural of mushroom

archive – n. a place where public records or historical materials (such as documents) are kept

mix and match – v. Put different things (like clothes) together in different ways

grass – n. a plant that grows very quickly where it is not wanted and covers or kills more desirable plants

Orchard – n. a place where people grow fruit trees

admire – v. to look at (something or someone) with pleasure

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