Mindset of a Successful Gardener

There’s an old saying that ‘the footsteps of the gardener are the plants’ best fertilizer’.

There’s some truth to this adage: when a gardener visits their garden often, and takes an interest in what is happening there (beyond the duty to grow some food), there’s a greater chance of a successful gardening outcome.

I think our mindset plays a very significant role in the outcome of our gardens, and I believe that the topic of our mindset can be divided into 2 categories:

  1. How we approach gardening; our purpose; our intentions

  2. How we nourish plants; how we nourish the soil; our understanding of what quality means

This post is about part 1 (the mindset side of things); part 2 (the practical side of things) is coming soon.

How We Approach Gardening

Everyone gardens for a different reason. Fundamentally though, we’re wanting to harvest food for ourselves and our families.

What does it take to reach that goal?

Perhaps the first question should be: what are our thoughts about our garden? Is it a place we love? Do we understand what a significant role it can play in nourishing our bodies and minds? Do we respect the incredible forces of nature that we’re working with; forces that nurture the seeds and seedlings we plant, all for our benefit?

I feel that a successful garden depends on much more than sticking plants in the ground and coming back expecting a harvest.

If we spend a few moments to really observe our garden each time we’re there - the soil, the seedlings, the plants, the earthworms and beneficial insects - we’ll become more attuned to our garden’s condition and needs.

We’ll be able to pick up on cues that a crop or a plant needs help, before it’s beyond the point of being helped. We’ll notice the effects of watering, of feeding, of weeding - the plants will respond one way or another.

And that’s what you want! It’s not a place of mechanical, robotic maintenance, but a place of care and interaction that will repay many times over.

This need not take a lot of time. It’s simply a matter of being “present” when we’re in our garden, and noticing what’s around us.

You’ll be surprised at how much you start to notice when you pay attention.

You’ll see the very first signs of a pest issue (which is a signal that the plant needs a nutrition boost)…

Or, you’ll see the beginnings of fruit formation on tomato or pepper plants (which is a signal that the plant will need feeding more often, to support its “babies")…

Or you’ll see the effect of your mulch vs an unmulched area - how much healthier the plants are, the higher numbers of earthworms under the mulch, the cooler sol, the fewer weeds, the softer soil - and it confirms your decision and validates your effort to apply that mulch.

You know how it feels when someone gives you a gift that they’ve spent time producing?

That’s how it is with gardening: you and your family will be rewarded with an abundance of gifts, according to the care that you put into it.

And so, approach your garden with respect for what it can do for your health and the health of your family. It’s not just a patch of dirt, but living soil that is an integral part of nourishing your family. You’re on the right track to a successful garden this year!