This year has been filled with surprises and new challenges. One surprise change that occurred was a bright spot. It was a response to the reality, confusion and concern about food supply and isolation resulting from our staying home, away from jobs, and activities that would normally fill our lives. It seems, people started to garden more. We spent more time in our gardens if we were fortunate to have them. They were our refuge. They provided positive energy in a world ready to engulf us in negative and unproductive attitudes. With our fragile lives so exposed and vulnerable, time in our gardens was good medicine.
Most intriguing of all was that many with little inclination to garden suddenly felt the urge. I took notice when my grown children suddenly had their thumbs turning increasingly darker shades of green. Yes, they helped their mother in and around the garden when they were young. They listened with eyes glazed over as I explained why I did this or that but really never showed any true passion for all those garden joys we might relish. Past a certain age of wonder and glee, the green in their small thumbs faded and they started poking at cell phones and computer keyboards, etc.
They are back. Those newly green thumbs are behind a multitude of questions, yards of soil, seeds aplenty and harvests protected like new babies from any danger. It's a miracle of sorts. And for me, such fun to share what I have learned with very little drama except a knowing smile or two.
So I use this time to encourage you to help those budding gardeners everywhere! I started with mapping out resources, especially the computer type stuff. It comes more natural to them. Organic, sustainable, healthy and humble gardening is my sermon, always. Tidbits of information with a story based in experience (especially if they are in the story – from their youth, of course), or an encouragement for a better outcome (really a challenge to do better than their mom), motivates. But ultimately, I love my books and share those with them to help them get the feel for things. Why reinvent the wheel? See what has gone before and adapt. Books add so much alongside an experienced gardener or two and digging into that lovely loam.
Here are a few books to consider sharing with those beginning gardeners among so many more:
SUNSET WESTERN GARDEN BOOK regularly updated, it is a gem for quick information.
THE SELF SUFFICIENT GARDENER by John Seymour. A lovely old book with amazing illustrations and a wealth of basic information. A prized possession.
Rodale Publishing: Books available on all subjects. Start with these.
THE NEW SEED STARTERS HANDBOOK by Nancy Bubel with Jean Nick
THE RODALE BOOK OF COMPOSTING edited by Grace Gershuny and Deborah L. Martin
RODALE'S ULTIMATE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ORGANIC GARDENING
Edited by Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara W. Ellis, Ellen Phillips with Deborah L. Martin
From there a multitude of books, old and new can be found on any subject. Check your book shelves. The newest trend has been to make it very local and focal. So if you are gardening in the Pacific Northwest or Arizona, there are books to help you out. If you have a special interest in herbs, fruits, berries, or earthworms, etc., lots to find. If the interest is only in flowers or beautiful landscapes, there is lots to find as well. Most likely, you and they will want it all. There is plenty to see, do and share. One more suggestion: Don't forget the cook books!