Life Lessons From Gardening

Last year, I became the proud owner of a plot in a local community garden. I thought the experience would provide me with some great vegetables – and it has. What I didn’t expect was how much I would learn about life.

Let Go and Let God – I can put seeds into the ground and I can water them, but I can’t control whether they rot, whether they sprout, whether they get washed away, or whether they just stay dormant. That part isn’t up to me.

Let Things Grow and They Will Reveal Themselves – When I first started to plant, I forgot to label the places where I put seeds. When things started to sprout, I didn’t know what they were. Like humans, plants often start off looking very different than they do when mature. To top it off, there were weeds in my garden, so I didn’t know what to keep and what to pull. I had to let everything grow to a point where the leaves were distinct so that I could tell the weeds from the plants.

Sometimes Unsolicited Advice Is Good– I’m in a community garden, and I have learned that community is key. I started off with almost no knowledge of gardening. But, every time I’m at the garden, there is someone there who knows more than I. The veterans are eager to give gardening advice, and I listen as attentively as I can. The unsolicited advice has been the best. I knew so little about gardening that I didn’t even know what to ask.

Let Your Weeds Grow Strong
– Now, why would I need to let my weeds grow strong? Don’t I mean plants? Nope. I mean weeds. After a few weeks, I easily recognized baby weeds in my garden, but when I tried to pull them, the tops would come off and the roots would stay in the ground. By letting my weeds get just a bit stronger, I could pull the tops and the roots would come up with them.

Weeds Reveal Your Best Soil – Weeds can grow just about anywhere, but sometimes they grow in the best soil in your garden. When you see weeds, it tells you that something is capable of growing in that spot. That soil is often moist and nutrient-rich. A wise gardener will pull the weeds and then plant seeds in that same spot so they will germinate.

Patience is a Virtue – There is a saying “like watching plants grow” for a reason. Everything in gardening takes longer than I thought it would, but the results are always better than I imagined. I can water for weeks and see nothing, but then one week I’ll go to my garden and there will be a baby lettuce or some spinach. There was one plant I couldn’t identify at all. It grew very big and had amazing leaves. It stayed that way for a month and I thought it was finished growing, but soon after that it sprouted broccoli.

Do What You Can – This is very similar to Let Go And Let God, but it has to do with doing what I can do and not worrying about what I can’t. When I started my garden, I was unemployed and had a lot of time to spend in it. I got a job, and then I could only be in the garden on weekends. I thought my garden would wither quickly with lack of attention, but it’s doing fine.

These lessons are from gardening, but they’re also pretty accurate for life. There are some people and situations that you can’t pre-judge. You just have to let them grow and they will reveal themselves to be good for your life or not. You can only do so much, and your job is to do what you can and understand that you can’t always control the results. When in doubt, get some advice from someone who’s been there before. When all else fails, you can’t go wrong with plain old patience.

Last 5 posts by Katryna Starks


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