Seasoned gardeners often remark that the secret to a good organic garden is to constantly add to the soil and try new things, year after year. As a novice gardener, I was encouraged by that fact. For too long I was daunted by my perception that one had to get up a great garden right off the bat, and that all sorts of advanced knowledge was required to pick a spot, till and prepare the dirt, plant things in the proper groupings at the proper times and in the proper rotation, after which one must be prepared to invest incredible amounts of time tending and coddling each tiny seedling. This didn’t seem like simple living, it seemed like stress!
Certainly the ideal situation would be to create a garden just like I described, but many of us don’t have that kind of time. Far better, I submit, is the willingness to just get started. You can learn as you go. Every year you can add to your soil, try something new, and learn from your mistakes. A garden can be a process, which greatly simplifies the whole undertaking. I learned the great lesson of trying even before you have even formulated the questions when I attended a 10 day draft horse workshop in Canada. I took the course hoping to learn the correct way to drive, plow and mow with horses but it wasn’t until I got my first team that I actually had the right questions to start honing the craft.
Many great books have been written on the subject of starting a garden and I recommend you read them as you get a chance and take the time to digest the information contained therein. Meanwhile, however, you can just get started.
Have a balcony or patio? Why not start a tomato plant or toss some bean seeds in a pot of dirt? Maybe you could start a small compost pile in an out of the way spot in your yard, or use scrap lumber to build a small raised garden bed. If you have an established flower bed, why not add a few seeds in between your plants and grow some lettuce, spinach, or kale in there too? As this is a particularly busy season in my life, I’ve simplified my garden to consist of mostly beans, and mostly planted in among other things. I even have some beans climbing a makeshift trellis made from an old broken baby gate!
In future posts, we hope to cover organic gardening topics that will be helpful to people new to growing things as well as to those who have been at this for years. Meanwhile, we encourage you to take a small and simple first step and see how growing food can be a rewarding part of simple living!