Ok, why does a woman who has devoted 14 years of her life on compost, soil, circular economies not know how to garden?
Folks assume that if I love composting; ergo – I am a master gardener!
The truth is I am not a Gardener. The fear in my head is that I will kill even a weed.
But I have Savitha of Daily Dump in my life. Now Savi is literally a Superstar Green Thumber. Just being in her proximity and seeing her really sweet relationship with plants got me to begin looking after one potted plant.
That is how my journey started, one plant. And of course I overwatered it and it died. But Savi did not give up on me.
She showed me to trust the compost. She nudged me to a new view of nature. She showed me how near it is. So this article is my version of the 3 principles for any person to discover if they are scared of gardening.
Please remember that the actual how to, what seed to plant, how long it will take to germinate, all of that, you can get easily on the net and will build your knowledge over time.
These three principles build your core attitude to something you are not confident about. And if it works for you, you had Savita to thank for this.
For all reluctant, non-confident gardeners –
Don’t Wait to fail, fail.
You cannot wait to begin – waiting for a dream starter kit or for the trip to the nursery or till the long holiday. Gardening is not an “insta” mix! You don’t have to get it right, do it right, be right. We are not training to be farmers. It’s about paying attention to things growing, slowly. It’s the shift in our way of noticing, of even understanding.
Start with the container. Do not buy a container, reuse a plastic bag, make a hole in the bottom for drainage. Or a plastic take away container. This is your trial pot. (Yes you can go out later and buy that cute planter you think fits your idea of the perfect picture. For now this is to get you primed)
Don’t buy soil. Forage, look in your local park, under a large tree, under a pile of rotting leaves. Once I remember I asked Savi where she got soil, she walked up to a tree, looked around, found some soft soil under leaves and picked it up and said, here – just add this and compost and you have the pot ready.
So I asked Savi, great, so what do I plant in this pot? Savi was eating a tomato. She rubbed some of its seeds down and just put those in the pot. My mouth dropped, it was such a great moment. I was in awe, I would NEVER have even made that leap. Never did I see the beginning of my food in my mouth in this way! I felt like the hypocrite I am. Talking of circular systems. Savi rocks!
So this pot may not grow anything. It is your failed pot. Now – failure – that is out of the way. But you touched soil, you experienced the fact that it’s around you, you began seeing. Very important lesson!
Seeds, in your world. Notice them.
Folks forward memes, Savi forwards seeds.
Folks hoard trivia She hoards seeds.
She carries seeds. She plants seeds.
And she does it so simply, because it is so much part of her. This is some kind of powerful intelligence. It has inspired me – that’s why I notice seeds now (somewhat!)
Ask your self, will you pick up a seed from the road? Will you put it in a random place in the soil around a park or road?
Savi does that. So practice that. Just for the fun of it. I try.
Not perfection but beauty
Savi dislikes too much order in a garden. She says all plants growing have beauty. She will put three plants in one place and wait for them to figure out their growth. She will uproot a plant that has got sick and make sure she prunes and she knows when to leave a plant alone.
She has taught me that time in the garden is not for the perfection of the garden, but time for nature to say hello to me.
So remove the idea of the “perfect” garden and take what comes.
My lemon plant refuses to give me lemons – well so far, I am still waiting. But that is the point, you have to wonder and shake your head, and try. I get excited every time I see a fresh limpid green leaf on it and feel completely incompetent about the loss of fruit. But I love it for still growing valiantly. Whoever thought I could have a relationship with a lemon plant.
Someday I will extend myself and reach out to Savi to come and help with me on the lemon. But I do know that I use my compost liberally once a month on my plants and they seem to love it
I am triumphant with my karipatta plant and my lily. I do not read around gardening,
I trust my compost and occasional addition of seaweed extract to keep my garden happy. I can never make a youtube film on my garden, it is not perfect for a story, but it does so much for me and I have Savi to thank for showing me what I was missing.
Wish you all there who are worried you will fail in gardening, begin today, use Savi as the teacher, build your basic connect with the fact that it’s normal, you don’t have to become masters of plant, but you can let nature in to nurture you and yes its about the journey !
Daily Dump helps customers close the loop of food to food.
Never tried composting at home? Check out our Starter Kits!
Poonam Bir Kasturi
August 2020, Bangalore