Your mind is the garden, your thoughts are the seeds. The harvest can either be flowers or weeds.” —William Wordsworth
Gardening. I never thought I’d write an article about this, but here we are marking a momentous occasion.
My life has continued to evolve since the beginning of the year in the best ways possible. And it all started with an indoor garden my best friends gifted me this past Christmas.
I’m somewhat familiar with gardening.
Growing up, I watched my parents grow hot peppers, squash, and herbs from our small apartment patio.
Vines from the squash plant would grow tall and take over our fence. (And let’s be real, it would’ve looked much better if the fence was painted white instead of an ugly off brown.) Right before we’d sit down for dinner, my parents would ask us to go pick a few peppers.
And what would we do?
We’d pick more than they needed, haha! Hey, even as an adult, I get carried away when I harvest too!
As a child, I experienced a lot with gardening.
From someone stealing the largest squash my mom had ever grown (we still do not talk about this around her, haha) to watching our parents water their plants in the evening during hot summers, we learned a lot back then. We also had a dog, several rabbits, and at one point, chickens. Let’s just say we attempted urban homesteading in the early 90s when you had great neighbors and the rules were more flexible, ha!
While kids watched cartoons, we were tasked to help around the house and I was always to watch mom cook.
Being an adult now, I am incredibly grateful to my parents who included us when they gardened and cooked.
As I reminisce while tending to my plants today, I thought of seven life lessons I learned then and now as a beginner gardener…
LEARNING KEEPS YOU YOUNG
My dad was always an advocate for learning when I was growing up. Whether it was watching the Discovery channel, reading National Geographic or formal education, he always wanted us to keep learning.
My brother is a self-taught mechanic through reading numerous car/motorcycle publications. My mother is always taking notes of things she learns. From how to spell English words to recipes, she’s always writing down everything. My aunt in Vietnam is improving her mindset from what my mom has taught her (that she learned from me). And me? I’m all about personal development! We are a family or learners and always teach one another what we learn.
Gardening has been fun yet challenging for me. I feel like there is SO much to learn when it comes to keeping plants alive, but hey, learning keeps us young, right?
PREPARATION IS KEY
Maybe it’s my mom’s casual approach to gardening, but who would’ve thought you need quite a bit of supplies before you begin the serious journey of gardening?! Well, not with a countertop indoor garden, but you still have to be prepared when you transfer plants from water to soil!
A few key lessons I’ve learned? Use good soil instead of the cheap Miracle Grow soil that resulted in hatching a ton of gnats and annoying us to the brink of insanity. To triple check, just bake your soil to ensure all insect eggs are dead. Second? Buy a good gardening spade to use instead of a soup spoon (LOL!). Lastly, proper planters are always better than plastic drinking cups. Go ahead, laugh at me.
THINGS WILL NOT GO ACCORDING TO PLAN
Earlier this month, I gave my best friend’s dad part of a tomato plant I propagated. Not 24 hours later, he texts me, “Call 911, call the police, call the Coast Guard, call the FBI! Some varmint stole our freshly planted tomato plant in less than 24 hours!” and a photo of the empty planter. Even though his text was hilarious, I was so sad because it didn’t even occur to me that animals would be getting in on the gardening fun!
I’ve learned to just go with the flow when things don’t go our way. The second tomato plant I sent his way is doing well and sprouts just showed up on the next tomato pod I just started. Got to have a back up for the back up, right?
JUST BECAUSE YOU CANNOT SEE IT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S NOT HAPPENING
Gardening reminds me of that illustration of the ice berg that represents entrepreneurship. Depending on the type of plant you’re growing, sometimes you can see results real fast and sometimes, you can’t. Just because you don’t see it happening above the surface doesn’t mean things aren’t happening below.
For me, it’s so crazy fascinating to start a new pod on a morning/afternoon and wake up the next day and see a tiny sprout!
VISUALIZE THE END RESULT
To imagine a pod with tomato seeds grow into a tall plant was surreal at the beginning of my journey. It was cute to see it sprout, but as time passes, watching plants evolve and grow is so fun! It’s no longer unrealistic to imagine my now five inch tall tomato plant become part of a magnificent garden one day!
One of my biggest dreams is to build on a large compound with separate homes where my entire family lives. We’d have the biggest gardens and have peony and hydrangea bushes all around the perimeter with dogs running around with our kids. I cannot wait!
Having been to Vietnam, for some people like my grandma, it is a trek to go to the market. You have to decide that you’ll go to the market in advance instead of going on a whim.
Here in America, it’s easy to get to your nearest grocery store if you forgot an ingredient while you’re cooking. As a blessing as that is, it’s even more of a blessing to grow/make your own food.
I’ve harvested my salad many times since my gardening journey in January and it’s so gratifying! Granted, my indoor garden is low maintenance, but once you transfer plants to soil, it’s a completely different game. That leads to my last lesson I’ve learned so far.
WHEN IT COMES TO GARDENING, PATIENCE IS A MUST.
I’ve messed up numerous times since I beginning my gardening adventure. From propagating a bromeliad plant improperly (even after watching a YouTube video) to overwatering and killing my lavender plant, patience is a must when gardening.
Being patient is not only required for beautiful harvests. Patience is definitely required for when winds come up into your patio and knocks over all your peat pot trays, causing soil and seed to fly everywhere.
And without a doubt in my mind, I’m sure these seven lessons from gardening is just the beginning of many I’ll be learning, ha!