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Gardening is one of the most popular activities in the world today. There is something very rewarding about growing one’s own food; planting a seed and watching it progress from a seedling into a beautiful flower or vegetable you can eat. Gardening involves careful soil preparation, weed control and cultivation, but the hard work involved is well worth the effort. Organic gardening, which is the growing of plants without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, is becoming more popular. Organic gardening replenishes the soil and works in harmony with nature - gardening in as natural way as possible. Almost anyone can have a garden. Vegetable gardening can be grown in pots on a patio, or a small plot of land with a few tomato plants or other vegetables. Even a sunny windowsill set with pots of herbs is an “indoor” garden. A good way to begin is with a little research. Find out what growing “zone” you live in, and see what plants will do well in your area. What you grow will also depend on how much sun or shade you have (although most vegetables will require at least 8 hours of direct sunshine per day.) If planting a flower garden, take the time to learn about annuals and perennials. Annuals are flowers that germinate, flower and die in one season. Perennials return year after year and therefore are often considered the “back bone” of the garden. Perennials have even adapted to survive extreme environmental conditions and with their roots protected below ground in the deep soil, they are even tolerant of wildfires, therefore they can save the gardener time and money in the long run. City gardening presents specific challenges, but can be done on rooftops or in community gardens. For the garden enthusiast, there is always a way.

Another aspect of gardening is creating an “outdoor room” in which to enjoy the fruits (or vegetables or flowers) of your labor. Whether you have a patio, or just a shady space under a tree, garden furniture will enhance your space. A simple stone or cement garden bench looks lovely and makes a great focal point in a garden. Garden furniture is often made of wood, teak, wrought iron or wicker. Plastic garden furniture is another alternative and is convenient because it’s waterproof. Tables with umbrellas to provide shade, with matching chairs are a popular choice, as are patio or porch swings and chaise lounge chairs. Do keep in mind that if wood furniture is to be kept outdoors year round, it will need to be treated to prevent it from rotting. Other decorative items are attractive in the garden, such as bird baths, gazing balls, and statuary. Portable fire pits have become popular and make sitting outdoors on a cool evening very cozy and comfortable.

























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