Much of gardening is about expectations. I put together a fun little progression of what to expect as a beginner gardener as you move through the “8 Stages of Clueless Gardening”. Enjoy!
The Audacity of Hope Stage
It’s spring. You’re inspired. Everyone’s doing it. This year you’re going to start growing your own food.
You have to get a garden, or build one yourself. (Remember, we can do this for you!) It’s a bit painful to see the money going the wrong way, i.e. out of your wallet, but it will all be okay in the long run, because it will give you a great return on investment once you’re harvesting your own vegetables instead of buying them at the grocery store. Booyah.
After weeks of wondering when the right time to plant your garden is, you prepare your soil and finally plant. The seeds are tiny! There is no way they will succeed. And the garden looks the same as it did before. But at the end of the day you feel somehow accomplished…
The seeds actually sprouted. They sprouted!
You made your first salad. Congratulations. All of that work for a tiny salad, but you’re doin’ it! You’re practically a farmer. Soon you’ll be baking fresh bread with the heirloom wheat you’re growing and catching your own fish for Sunday dinner! But probably not.
It’s just not worth it! It’s 95 degrees, unknown pests are eating your crops, and you’re leaving on vacation next week. Whatever – the garden just isn’t working anymore.
You come home and the garden is actually doing ok! There are a few plants that aren’t making it. You figure if a plant can live through the onslaughts of nature without your constant attention and still produce something edible, it can stay. If not, buh-bye.
Triumph and Confidence
You fondly remember all the good times, the weeks of lettuce and peas, the strawberries the slugs didn’t eat, the green beans, the faithful basil, the small but edible crop of carrots, the six jars of diced tomatoes you managed to can for the winter (well, they should last through November at least). Thanks to these humble beds of earth, your children were sustained by fresh, nutrient-rich foods. You have grown your own food on your own land, and by doing so, you have connected in a deeply primal way with the independent, pioneer spirit of America. As for the struggles and setbacks, they were just opportunities to grow. To better yourself. To go into next spring armed with knowledge and ready to triumph.
I got stuck on the agnosticism for far too long :)) But the joy for each growing plant is worth the work 🙂
I started slowly…. 25 years… and I finally have a verifiable working garden. Yes, I still get excited when first little green shoot pierces the soil.