When I first started gardening almost 40 years ago, I was always trying to figure out why this, that, or the other was wrong. Much of what I perceived as being wrong was just the way nature does things.
Over the years I came to realize that success in gardening involves knowing only a few fundamental things.
And yes, of course, there is always something else we can learn, but fortunately for us, knowing everything is not a requirement for success in the garden.
Fundamentals like proper soil preparation, keeping the soil covered, replenishing the organic materials/matter in the soil, good air circulation, and paying attention to what’s happening are basics that allow you to be successful without knowing a lot of details.
Once you understand the fundamentals, which are always few in number, you don’t have to be too concerned about anything else. No need to look for some exotic answer to solve what you perceive to be a problem.
More than likely if you’re working with nature, all will be well. All you have to do is watch, tend, and continue to learn.
Through The Ages Others Have Come To The Same Conclusion
One of the most profound quotes I’ve come across that supports the concept was from Mortimer J. Adler, author of How to Read a Book.
Published in 1940 it was an immediate best seller. And remained a nationwide best seller for more than a year.
The book was revised in 1972 to accommodate various changes in technology that effected literacy. For example, radio and tv.
Understanding the Purpose of the Book Gives More Meaning to the Quote
What had not changed since 1940 in the author’s opinion – (which I find accurate if based on my own schooling experience) – was the the lack of instruction in reading skills beyond the elementary level.
Thus, for “all intents and purposes” a “student remained a 6th grade reader till well along in college.”
That is probably more emphatically true today than in 1972.
The purpose of the book was to change that condition for the reader.
The Adler Quote
In talking about mankind knowing more (having more details) about the world now than in the past years, Adler states,
“— knowledge is NOT as much a prerequisite to understanding as is commonly supposed.
We do not have to know everything about something in order to understand it; too many facts are often as much an obstacle to understanding as too few.”
Continuing to Learn Once We Understand The Fundamentals
Facts or Marketing?
One of the reasons that it’s important to understand fundamentals before we tackle all the details, is because of the difficulty (especially for beginners) in separating what’s actual fact from what’s marketing to sell a product.
Many products and even growing methods are deemed necessary only as a result of nature’s simple way being exchanged for something complicated.
As a result what is often stated as a fact is not necessarily “truth” and is only a “fact” as it applies to conventional agriculture.
I’ll give you some examples in the next post.
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