What My Garden Taught Me About People


I’m not a gardener.  I love to garden, but I don’t profess to be an expert nor do I have the world’s best green thumb.  What I do have is a little knowledge from growing vegetables over the years.  Moving from a climate in Virginia that had a much longer growing season made it difficult to adjust to New York.  However, I thought I’d get ahead of myself this year, and I started planting seeds indoors WAY before planting season.  I waited SO long for tomatoes last year that I just wanted the opportunity to have them a little earlier.

We had a warm streak in May where it seemed opportune for planting.  Since the warm weather was going to last until the proper days for planting in my area, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to plant my plants and seeds a little early.   I was watching the weather, noted times to plant, and I went forward with planting in an effort to have some veggies before the norm for my area.  Then, a woman whose child went to school with mine in the course of conversation with me said, “WHAT?  You planted your plants ALREADY?  They’re going to DIE!”  She told me that SHE is a farmer and knows I planted too early and that my plants would all get killed.  My heart dropped a bit as I thought I had educated myself regarding weather, etc. because I so meticulously grew these plants from seedlings and had them in every available growing spot in my house.  For months, I babied those plants and fed them.  The last thing in the world I wanted was for them to die.

Today, as I was reaping the rewards of my modest garden, I was thinking back to that conversation in May.  It made me think a lot about the human race and perspective.  I’m picking a gallon of green beans every other day from this garden.  I see tomatoes forming already on my tomato plants.  I see my pepper plants blooming.  Squash flowers are out.  Then, I thought of how this woman had no idea how much my heart dropped when she claimed to be a professional in the field and told me my well loved plants will die.  Yes, I love these plants that I cared for from the moment I started seeds in the soil in my house while snow was on the ground outside.  These plants not only gave me the reward of watching them grow, but gave me hope for warmer weather to come after a long, dismal winter.

As I looked at the bag I filled with vegetables I picked,  it occurred to me that this is just a small example of how the human race operates.  So many people profess to be all knowledgeable in different subjects, yet won’t open their eyes to another perspective.  They pass judgment on others who they feel aren’t as wise (whether it be in something like gardening or religion to name two) and decide that the person who isn’t as much of an expert as him/her will not succeed in life.  These people decide that if you don’t think like them, then you are to be discounted, judged, and made to feel less of yourself with harsh words…such as being told the garden you made and spent months on will DIE.  Did I get lucky with my choices?  I suppose any kind of storm could creep in just like it does in life and could have destroyed that garden.  I was just as lucky as any farmer would have been given that things in life are unpredictable.  It’s how it’s handled that matters.  Was it fair for the woman to tell me some huge ultimatum bad thing was going to happen because I didn’t do things the way others might think I should?  Maybe not.  I didn’t get a moment to explain my thought process.  After all, it’s just a garden…or is it?

If my garden had been destroyed, it would have pained me that my efforts had been all for naught.  The fact that it is thriving so well with what I did proved to me that we, as human beings, need to look at our fellow man and say, “Hey, that might not be my way, but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way.  Maybe it’s the right way for YOU.”   I didn’t follow the farmer’s ways, but I still succeeded.  I succeeded through knowledge I gained in my life going from one climate to another and seeing quite a few winters up north changing into summer.  I succeeded with my goals by planning ahead, properly nurturing the seeds planted, and taking care to make sure that I didn’t forget my goals on a daily basis.  This is another thing we can learn in life – having goals by planting the seeds and taking the steps to obtain them CAN make them happen…even if we don’t have an easy way to do it (like a greenhouse or farmer’s knowledge).

The point is that the farmer was wrong.  People may tell you how you should be doing things according to what they have set in their minds or by using their “expertise,”  while fully ignoring what efforts you made on how to make your (metaphoric) plants survive.  They may not understand these efforts you’ve made, what you’ve gone through, or what you intend to do if a storm hits.  They may also fail to realize that they’re in as much danger of a storm hitting as anyone else walking the planet.  No one is immune to problems in life.  Even if every effort is made to make your plants survive, some animal that doesn’t care about you and your garden might start munching away at all that you do making you feel like your garden is in shambles.  What do you do then?  Put a fence up.  Keep the nasty animals out.  Do things the way you feel they need to be done in your garden to keep your sanity.  And, remember, even if your veggies die, there’s always another vegetable stand around the corner.  Someone, somewhere has produce available that you can love just as much as what you produced on your own.

To the ones who like to see your garden destroyed…their fertilizer is more like a poison that will kill your plants.  We only have this life to live, and the choices on when to start your seeds, what soil to use, when to plant, and how to time things are your own.  Making efforts to keep the destructive animals out is also your choice.  In the end, when you see the happy results of what comes out of it, you can smile and know you did the right things to get the kind of garden you wanted.  Those who tried to make you feel like you did it all wrong will have nothing to say…most likely because they can’t get through the fence you put up.



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