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Gardening – The Few Things You Need to Know for Success

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.

Final Thoughts

I’ll give you some examples in the next post.


Suggested Reading

3 Books That Can Change Your Garden, Your Health, and The Way You Look at Life.

3 Keys to Successful Gardening – More Proof They Work

Organic Residues – The Needed Energy for Soil Fertility


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3 comments to Gardening – The Few Things You Need to Know for Success

  • Steve Gillaspie

    Great blog; too many facts do dirty up the water. Also not enough information is very damaging as well. This is why I think most people have difficulty keeping things simple and have a hard time finding a balance.

    Getting excited to have spring warm up enough to do something with warm weather produce.
    PS I am cleared by the Dr. to do all things strenuous.

    Thanks again

  • Theresa

    Steve, so glad to hear that the Dr. has cleared you to get back to strenuous activities!
    Now the season can begin!
    Take care of yourself and keep me posted on how you’re doing.

  • Foundational:

    “I came to realize that success in gardening involves knowing only a few fundamental things.”

    More would garden if they only knew this truth. I had to learn it too. Sad that were so brain-washed that we can’t see the thing right in front of us for what it is.

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