The Path To Gardening Efficiency, How One Grows As A Gardener

Let’s talk about the efficiencies that you learn between being a beginner and more advanced gardener! We try to hit the spectrum of growing prowess and that means we should discuss these things in the open! Both to affirm other advanced gardeners, but also to give the newer grower a path to look forward to!

We mentioned yesterday that our 1,700 square foot community garden only took us three hours, from beginning to end, to prepare for the year. Had you asked us eight years ago if that were possible, we’d have thought you were from Pluto! Our first few years, these same exact same gardens used to take us two days to prepare and as much physical exertion as we could possibly muster.

So, what happened?

We postulate that three major things happen as you transition from beginner gardener to a more advanced gardener. Or, perhaps more precisely, what you learn as you develop expertise within your gardens.

The first thing you increase is your ability to predict and anticipate the needed tasks. If you think about it, the mind ultimately limits the body. Until the mind knows what to do, the body cannot act. As you garden more, and do things like garden preparation over and over, you learn to anticipate what’s needed. You know the next step. Unfortunately, this skill takes time to develop. But, when you do master that skill, it contributes more to efficiency than anything else you could do.

The second thing that happens is you’ll naturally find and develop the most efficient ways of accomplishing something. We are able to combine a lot of individual steps in our preparation because, as we mentioned above, we can anticipate all of the next steps. Stupid stuff, like where to put our tools. We can also reduce physical exertion by using the right tools, learned by doing things the hard way.

Another big one is learning the tolerance around the physical use of your mind and body. Gardening is different from traditional exercise, you’re going to use muscle groups you don’t normally use. Since we can synthesize the above things that we mentioned, it allows us to tolerate more physical exertion. “The next step isn’t that hard, so let’s do it.” And from there, “I can do the next thing in 5 minutes, that’s not so bad.” And so on. Don’t get us wrong, we take water breaks and tend to our physical needs. But, you can exert more when you think and act in short bursts, marching towards an inevitable end-goal that’s achievable and accomplished by many, small tasks.

While our video doesn’t share our audio, one of the things we’ve noticed as that the two of us rarely have to communicate while preparing these gardens. We both know what needs to be done, what we’ll need each other’s help with and what each other’s given task is. We’re able to anticipate each other just as well as we can foresee our next tasks.

Every single one of these things is learned by doing the “gardening thing,” multiple times. And of course, there’s probably a other things we missed, but these seemed like the “big ones.” This is ultimately why we argue that to “get good at gardening,” it’s most important to just keep at gardening. It’s not something you are or aren’t innately good at. Rather, it’s a practice that you have to develop over time.

If you have anything to add, we’d love to hear it. So much of the “social gardening experience” doesn’t touch on subjects like this, it’s all about the actual mechanics of growing. So we’re curious what you think!

That’s All We Wrote!

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