Are you freshly excited to try something new? Perhaps a new job is on the horizon? Or maybe you’ve just begun to think about making a change. Are you moving, or thinking of trying a new hobby? Or, perhaps you’ve decided to turn your hobby into a business? Whatever your situation, spring is the time of renewal.
I, too, have decided to try something new.
I am a city girl that has recently been transplanted to the suburbs. I have very little knowledge about the great outdoors, and until recently I have never had to worry about a back yard. This is certainly not a source of pride, and neither is the fact that I have never planted anything in my life.
So, given my new circumstance, I have decided that it’s time to change the status quo. I have decided that this year I am going to learn how to plant a garden. Or, at least a couple of vegetables and berries.
Easier said than done, but I have committed and I don’t want to let myself down. So, I am diving head first, and even though I’m just at the cusp of the planting season, I’ve already accumulated a few lessons learned.
First of all, learning something new is terrifying
I am realizing that as far as my gardening knowledge-bank is concerned, I am not just at zero, I am quite possibly in the negative. Until recently, I didn’t know where to buy the potting soil. Perhaps I am a bit afraid of my efforts being a flop, but mostly, I am hesitant because I don’t know where to start. To say the least, this is overwhelming and somewhat terrifying.
Taking small steps will give you the confidence to move forward
It’s been a while since I picked up a new hobby, and I’ve forgotten what it feels like to push yourself into new territory. My 6 year-old is starting to ride a bike, and she is a bit scared. I’ve tried to tell her what to do to best keep her balance. But then I realized she needs to do it her own way – she needs to first get a feel for her bike. To spend some time just sitting on it, with feet on the ground. This will give her the confidence to begin pedaling on her own. Small steps.
Like her, I am spending more time outdoors, just looking at the garden bed. Getting familiar with what it looks like. Learning the names of the flowers that were planted there before. Trying to discern the difference between weeds and plants. I am being mindful about the experience, and it is helping me take the next step in the process.
Having a detailed plan will set you up for success
If you are planting this year, now is the time to start planning ahead – to start thinking about what you want to plant, buying the seeds, and doing some prep work on the garden bed. As a novice, I am learning that there are specific steps I need to take, now, and again when the soil warms up enough for the seeds to grow. Plant too soon, and the garden will not take.
I am learning what I need to plant, how much water and sun exposure the seeds will need, how much space to allocate, how to weed, and about the importance of soil quality. I am doing prep work like a good job hunter before her networking conversations and interviews.
Don’t get discouraged when things don’t go according to plan
Things won’t always go according to plan, and I am already seeing the warning signs. Apparently, I am not the only one who likes to smell the flowers and munch on fresh garden goodness. The cute bunny family that we “adopted” as our outdoor pets are already starting to cause problems. I’ve just had to shoo one off the yard, and I know it’s just a matter of time until he comes back, and brings friends. I am trying not to get discouraged, but I know what will really help is not to wish them away, but to buy a garden net.
Steady work pays off and makes you feel fulfilled
As much as I want to see quick results, I am learning to be patient and to take it step-by-step. I know that if I am careful and steady, my work will eventually pay off. In the past couple of weeks, I have already learned more about gardening that in the previous 40 years. Above all, this has taught me the most important lesson to date – a new challenge is fun and it’s making me happy to stretch beyond my comfort zone.
To be continued…