Call to Spades! Start Somewhere – Start Anywhere

I’ve been gardening now on and off for almost 25 years. Mainly off. This isn’t through a lack of desire to grow healthy food or beautiful flowers. I dream of this a lot. I’m full of wonderful ideas and a huge library of books and bookmarks. I’ve got plenty of seed, a few good tools and lots of land to work my magic on.

You know why I don’t live in the new Eden? One – I’m pretty lazy. Two – I keep being scared off getting started gardening. I’m constantly bombarded with messages:

— You have to plan properly

— You have to get the soil right

— You have to wait until the right time

— You have to have the right tool / spray / fertiliser / method

Well, too frickin bad Mr You-have-to, I’m going all Whatever on you.
I’ve come to the startling realisation that all I really need to do is start somewhere. I’ll probably need to have this epiphany again sometime because I’ll inevitably forget about it and get all freaked out again.

My past incarnations as a fairly competent gardener have all come about when I’ve just done it – no fancy formula, no special nothing. I remember putting a parsley plant in a bit of dirt outside my house once. I’d go and water it and weed around it a bit. Then I found some chives to go near it and I continued tending them. I didn’t have to set aside whole weekends to do special gardening chores, just a little bit of time often.

Next thing I knew, there were courgettes for Africa and beans for Brazil. Bouquets of lettuce and herbs were given to anyone arriving at the house. It was my heyday of food growing. There have been other such moments, but there have also been long periods of self-doubt thinking I had to get things just right. Oh how wrong right can be!

Start somehow. Start anyhow. Start now. Just start! It’s from starting that you get results. Starting builds enthusiasm. Enthusiasm and results begets motivation. From here your garden and your life with flourish.

Planning is a wonderful thing. But not if it scares you from getting out there and actually gardening. Don’t go planting out crops just yet, keep it small. Then you’ll start noticing your surroundings. You’ll see how best to integrate your plans for garden supremacy into the natural world around you. A lot of people have made a lot of money out of a lot of books that scare you into thinking is terribly difficult of expensive. It doesn’t need to be either. Anyone can garden, and everyone should garden.

All you really need to get started is a plant or a seed, some soil and some water. Start there. Build your garden slowly if need be. You can take it wherever you want – a couple of pot plants, small pretty little patch or feeding your family. You can build your garden and build the resources you need as you go. Some things may not work and you’ll find ways to do things better. But you won’t get any of this if you don’t start somewhere.

If things don’t work out so great, you can always go back and move the plant, or add something to the soil, or give it some protection / water / love. Books, garden centres, friends and family are great sources of information. Don’t get bogged down in it though – there are no hard and fast rules.

If you get scared, remember the pre-eminent rule of nature – plants like to live. They’ll do their very best to survive with or without you.

Don’t let procrastination stop you from gardening, even if it is ordained by some gardening guru. Grab a seed, plant, spade, whatever and get out there!

May all your planting dreams be fulfilled.

All the very best,

Anna xx

p.s. Thanks to Rachel of The Kitchen Garden for getting this blog ball rolling.


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September 2008
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