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I need you to stop what you’re doing right now and pay attention. If you’re prone to fainting, please sit comfortably in a chair. If you happen to have one of those foil blankets meant for emergencies, maybe grab that, too. What I’m about to say may shock you.

You’re gardening wrong and you probably always have been.

Are you there? Are you still with me? You know how every season you dig up your gardening beds and fluff them around? You spend hours bent over a gardening fork or shovel flipping, slicing and turning the soil because it’s easier for plants’ roots to maneuver through tilled soil? And you do it because it aerates the soil and allows water to run through it more smoothly?

When it’s cool outdoors, I love to walk through an old greenhouse and feel the warmth around me. Slatted wooden benches, a hard-packed dirt floor, rusty heating pipes and, of course, plants all add to the pleasure. Throw in an old chair and a cup of tea and I’m a child again— back in my uncle’s greenhouse watching his tomatoes grow. It’s the all-pervading earthiness, combined with nostalgia- inducing fragrances, that evoke these feelings. To me, a greenhouse is such a comfortable place to be.

Around this time of year, I begin to think, boy, it sure would be nice to have a greenhouse in my backyard. I do have a small one, but it’s just something I knock together every April to hold seedlings prior to planting, little more than a glorified cold frame. So, why don’t I have a real greenhouse in my back yard? I’m not sure. Just haven’t got around to it, no space available, not cost effective. These are the usual excuses, but they aren’t very strong ones.

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