Monday, February 10, 2014

Ways to learn how to garden

Garden coaching gets you where you want to be quickly and with ease.

In agriculture circles, I've often heard that new growers need to garden seven to ten years before they become proficient. Novice gardeners hear that and are like, what? Ten years? How am I going to fit that into my life? So they never try.

Encore lettuce at M R Gardens. Photo by Vickie Burick
If you didn't grow up on a farm or learn from your parents or grandparents, there are several other ways you can become good at gardening:

1) Spend thousands of dollars on a formal university education;

2) Intern a season with a farmer, living out of a tent or whatever shabby structure that the farmer can afford to offer you (an option that doesn't seem quite as feasible once we've passed our early 20s);

3) Go to gardening conferences and get tons of information at once, leave all wired with excitement from the visions the classes inspired, only to arrive home and realize that you can only realistically implement about two minutes worth of what you learned in a weekend-long conference;

4) Read books and articles about farming only to get frustrated when advice isn't practical, as it doesn't quite translate to the specifics of your garden;

5) Annoy your friends, neighbors and nursery owners for free advice;

6) Spend year after year in half frustration with trial-and-error projects in your backyard, not helping your relationship with your spouse who would rather just go to the store and pick up vegetables instead of going to all that trouble;

7) Hire a garden coach. This mentor will hold your hand and teach you step by step so you don't have to waste time researching things you really don't need to know at this moment in time. She has your best interest in mind and is committed to making this process fun, therapeutic, and rewarding. She'll help you design a system so that you can keep the things you like about your lifestyle, and the gardening time commitment won't feel like a sacrifice. In fact, with the addition of exercise in the garden, the feel of plants surrounding you, the rewards of harvesting your own produce, and delicious meals to share with friends and family, you'll feel nothing short of abundance.

Marigolds at M R Gardens. Photo by Vickie Burick.
I don't want to be too discouraging about choices one through six. I learned via these routes, as do a lot of other advanced gardeners. But if I didn't want to go into this work professionally, I think I would have preferred option number seven.

You can still interweave one through six into your self-education, even if you hire a coach. In fact, I encourage it. Any way you learn about growing your own nutritious food and adding more natives to the local area is good. But seven will save you time, money and frustration.

I know because, if you're a novice eager to get started but torn between spending time on lots of other interests and activities, I've been where you are. You're envisioning a bountiful garden, gourmet meals, and a healthy lifestyle, but you're looking at your schedule wondering how in the world are you going to gain the time and the knowledge to get there. That's why I'm here to help.

I am currently running a special for a $20 initial consultation, where I review your site and interview you so I can best understand your needs. We then discuss various packages that will work best for you.

Oh, I should mention, there is an eighth choice. Gardening via your intuition. But that's a whole other topic I'll explore in a later article.