It is a common assumption that successful gardening is depending on a green thumb. Some people have the ability to grow a great garden, and some don’t. People with a green thumb can grow almost anything in any climate. If you don’t have a green thumb, you might be able to develop one if you study the science of growing plants really hard but it will not be natural.
This is not true.
There is no such thing as a green thumb and you also don’t need to study the subject intensely before you can grow a garden. In fact, even a child can start growing a little garden.
Successful gardening is more depending on your mindset.
The subject of a mindset is an interesting one, not just for gardeners. A great read on it is the book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. She discovered after decades of research, a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset.
People with a fixed mindset believe that abilities are fixed and are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset who believe that abilities can be developed.
As gardeners, we know a lot about growth, we know, that if something does not grow, it dies.
what does not grow, dies
This is not just true for plants, but since we are talking about gardening, let’s stick to the example.
If you believe that you just don’t have a green thumb or enough education to grow a great garden, you will act on it. Therefore, rather than working on your plants, you will work on “why bother” attitude. Instead of concentrating on what you can do for the plant, you will concentrate on what you can’t do. This is called a fixed mindset.
A fixed mindset has a hard time to grow anything, including a garden. A person with a fixed mindset is very much like an artificial plant, it looks great, but that’s the only thing it’s concerned about.
Any great gardener will tell you that they kill many plants. Not on purpose, it just happens. What great gardener don’t kill is their growth mindset. They still believe that they can do it and continue to grow. They realize that mistakes are inevitable, however, they are necessary for learning and becoming better.
Last spring I accidentally killed a tomato plant with a garden hose. My tomato plants are very precious to me, so needless to say I was saddened. But, it was done and I could not reverse it. Since there was more room now for the plant next to it, I left one sucker to grow as a second stem, instead of the usual one stem pruning method.
Then we had a water leak in the greenhouse and that plant with more room also got a lot more water. Thankfully we were able to fix it before there was root damage because of too much water, but the intense watering and more room to grow had done its work.
This plant developed one of the biggest tomato fruit we have ever grown. A 3.5 lbs fruit!
Was it success or failure to grow this amazing fruit? You decide.
What you need for growing a great garden, or developing any skill for the matter, is a growth mindset. An attitude that you can do this. Try new things, make notes and continue to learn, evolve your skills and grow the garden you never thought is possible.
Plants want to grow and produce fruit, they just need the right conditions. To know what those right conditions are is helpful, and I’m eager to learn more, however, to care is much more important in a garden, then to know.
Care is more important then knowledge
Circumstances are often out of our control, especially if you garden in a cold or challenging climate as we do. We can’t do everything right, but we still can care for our garden and harvest a great crop.
Vigorous growth also involves training and pruning. Even though painful it leads to best results. With a growth mindset, you will also make mistakes and sometimes be disappointed, however, this is where the growth mindset is most valuable. A growth mindset does not give up, it might correct directions but will always learn and grow.
I want to encourage you to change the way you might think about your green or not so green thumb. To start growing no matter what your experience with growing a garden has been until now.
Get excited about the kind of gardener you can become if you keep on growing a garden with care and a growth mindset.
Learn from the garden
There is no better place to learn growth than in the garden. Everything grows here. Even if you are not a gardener, visit a garden regularly and observe the plants. We love for example the Olds College garden (main picture).
Notice how seemingly dead plants in winter, flourish and grow in spring, how seeds sprout and fruit develops. It all happens silently, without much glamor.
Plants don’t think about growth, they just grow. Imagine the Lilly would contemplate if it is even worth it to put up such a color show. Furthermore, an apple would compare itself with an orange that it can’t be and stop growing all together because of it.
Our mind is an amazing tool if we use it for growth, to develop skills, to learn a new art, to become better in what we do. However, the mind is destructive and even dangerous if it’s being used primarily for comparing, judging, and prideful thinking.
Plants teach us that growth is what matters.
Successful gardening is not depending on a green thumb, yet a successful person is dependent on a growth mindset, a green mind if you will.
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