Four Ds of Successful Gardening – as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. The four Ds of successful gardening. The first D is to “Detect.” That means, take off your rose colored glasses, put on your critical glasses like you were Sherlock Holmes, maybe bring your hand lens out, walk through your garden looking for everything that is wrong or that does not look right; the plant that is pale, is not growing, is got insect or caterpillar bites out of it, weeds that are growing. Take along a pad and paper too. Your not going to get fix all of these at one time but, go through it and look at it with a critical eye. So, your going to “Detect.” The second “D” is to “Diagnose” what is wrong, the next thing is “Diagnose”. So, lets say that you have got a plant that has got leaves that are all eaten and look raggedy and you do not know what to do. Your going to take a sample of that leaf, put it in a plastic bag and go to your local garden center. Ask for somebody who has worked there for a good long time. We all hire temporary help and young help and they just might give you the wrong answer, and see what they can tell you. Most of the time, they can tell you what it is, and what is wrong, and what you need to do about it. That is the third “D”, is to “Determine” what to do. So, first your going to “Detect” then, you are going to “Diagnose” what it is. If you cannot get it at your garden center, there is a wonderful organization in every state, and it is your agricultural extension office and they are called “Master Gardeners.” If you just Google in on your website Mastergardeners.org in your state or your county, their help is available for you and it is free. Your taxes pay for it. They have got layers and layers and layers of experts. So, if the person answering the phone cannot tell you what is wrong and they cannot tell by a sample you send in, there is somebody out there in the AG department that can help you get your problem solved. So, that is a really really good resource and it is a free one. Anyhow, so we have got the detect, we have got the diagnose and then we are going to determine what to do. So we have got this leaf that is all eaten up with big holes in it. So the local garden center is going to say either this is slugs and snails or they are going to say it is caterpillars or whatever is wrong and you are going to buy the product that is going to help you solve that particular problem. The fourth “D” is the most important “D” of all. Do not forget this. “Damn well do it soon!” That is the four “D” of successful gardening.