Well, here it is, January 10th, and already I'm considering my garden plans for spring. Too early, you say? Not if you consider the amount of planning a garden needs. Well, to be honest, a garden doesn't necessarily need months of planning; most avid gardeners just like to flip through the seed catalogs and daydream through the remainder of winter. A garden does, however, take at least a little forethought with regards to what you want to grow, where you want to grow it, and what your growing conditions will be.
I began a project last summer that I have continued to work on sporadically over time; it was intended to be a how-to for beginning gardeners, covering the basics of gardening. After quite a bit of work, I realized that I was missing the point ~ gardening isn't meant to be something you study for eons prior to breaking ground. Its something you just do, learning as you go. The books, videos and workshops are wonderful resources, and are extremely fun for those with an interest in horticulture, but they are not a prerequisite. They should be used during your own learning process, to find answers through trial and error, or simply used to quench your thirst for more information after you've become hooked.
As a society, I think that we have placed far too much value in how much we “know” about things. Over the past few years, and throughout my spiritual journey, I have come to hold more faith in what we “do”, rather than the volumes of information we have before we begin. Obviously some things need to be studied in great detail before throwing ourselves into them; I can't say I would be comfortable with a doctor who learned their profession on the fly. But, I do believe that the emphasis of all education should be hands on, practical training, with less time spent in lecture halls.
Most things, though, are best learned at our own pace, in our own unique ways. That is one reason I adore gardening so much ~ Nature is infinitely forgiving, and can be a wonderful teacher if you take the time to pay attention. If a plant perishes in your garden bed, you get as many do-overs as you need in order to succeed; but unless you figure out why the plant won't grow, you will forever be planting new greenery in your plot, all being sentenced to an unhappy ending. This, Friends, is the process of learning. It's like that age-old saying:
“If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.”
Personally, I prefer to alter it slightly:
“If at first you don't succeed, find out why, fix the problem, then aim for the stars!”