Tending to Your Plants

So far in the Farm Lessons series, I have discussed getting to the root of things in order to clear space for new growth and embracing your garden for what it is. This week I'll be addressing growth. Most people understand that they cannot just plant a seed and expect it to grow strong, healthy, and be fruitful. They understand that planting requires nourishment, care, tending to, maintenance, etc.

However, it can get a little tricky to understand exactly what your garden needs. To make it easier, I am sharing the four essential steps that I have learned from the farm and how you can use them to “grow” a little more mindfully in accomplishing your goals.

  1. Natural resources. I call these natural resources because they should be essential and ongoing in your growth. While the quantity may vary from day to day, just like the sun and rain will vary, they are absolutely necessary for your plant to grow. The basis of this step is self-care. It will vary from person to person and also from goal to goal. Some changes might require a lot more care if they are especially draining, challenging or emotional. You can check out my blog on self-care to help guide you to understanding the type of self-care you need.
  2. Fertilizer. This is a step that is in addition to your natural resources. Fertilizer helps plants to grow strong, but without having your essential natural resources, all the fertilizer in the world will not be helpful. Think of this as supplemental help, like having support from people close to you or doing accountability checks along the way. On the farm we use high-quality, all organic fertilizer. Which is just a fancy way of saying that we are sprinkling some cow poop on top of these beloved plants. How can something so unappealing make our plants grow stronger? Keep this in mind when you are adding additional resources to your growth process. Sometimes it might seem "shitty" along the way, asking for help sometimes does. But if you know it will help your end goal do not hesitate to use it!
  3. Pruning. Most plants require pruning for them to become trained or to grow in the way you want them to. Sometimes it means cutting off some parts of the plant or tying it up to an anchor to make it stronger. Like fertilizer, pruning is designed to help you grow not only strong, but in the direction you want to be growing in. Think of this as methods that are in place to ensure that you are on the right path to your goals. This may mean thinking through your goals ahead of time and writing out milestones you would like to reach along the way. Pruning could also be as simple as checking in with yourself, whether it is weekly or more frequently, to make sure you are on track. If things seem a bit off, time to cut the excess (i.e. what is unnecessary) or tie up (i.e. getting refocused).
  4. Weeding, hoeing, ongoing maintenance. This step may be the most difficult and take the most effort. I will be completely honest, in my farming experience thus far maintenance of the plant is the most challenging. It is not fun and generally takes a lot of effort. It is tiring, sweaty, and makes me sore afterwards. But you know what? It gives the plants what they need. When I am doing this maintenance work, I remind myself that if I do not, the whole act of planting them and caring for them may be for nothing. Maintenance in real life may look like doing those kind of challenging things while working towards your goals. Maybe it is attending a therapy session when you are already emotionally drained and feeling raw. Perhaps it is going for a run even when you would rather sleep in.

You are essentially a farmer now! You have cleared your garden of the weeds, started accepting your garden for all that it has to offer, and understand the necessary steps to help your plants grow strong. Next week I will be sharing what I consider one of the toughest parts of gardening: time, waiting, and patience.