Posted in Indoor Musings

Really? Those are easy to grow!

When our soybeans failed to even break ground this year, it never occurred to me to go back and ask for a chat with the person that had told me before I’d planted them, “They’re so easy to grow!”  I never thought to ask questions that might help me learn even one of the possible differences between gardens.  We just blamed ourselves.  I assumed it was critters because of all the disturbance we’d had in the soil, my partner blamed his black thumb since he was the one that put the seeds in the ground.  Today, I had the ah-ha moment, which led to my writing this.

Before I say anything else, I want to mention that the person that told me soybeans are easy to grow currently lives in Minnesota.  He also has lived a lot of other places, and he was speaking of his father growing them, not himself.  His father apparently grew them in several places where they lived, and that’s going to be my first question: Where?

When someone tells you a plant you’ve been struggling with is “easy”, don’t get mad or frustrated or blame yourself like I did.  Remember that everything is relevant.  What’s easy for some, may not be for you–and possibly not because you have a self-proclaimed black thumb either.

  • Their soil may be naturally better suited for that “easy” plant.
  • They may amend their soil differently than you.
  • Their natural rainfall average may be better suited than yours, requiring less watering on the part of the gardener.
  • They may use starters instead of seeds, or even a different seed company.
  • They may plant companions knowingly or not that make the difference.
  • They rotate crops different than you (this includes the non-rotate factor too).
  • The critters in their garden (and lack of) may differ from yours.
  • The amount of sun their garden gets, and what type for how long may be different.
  • They may have been taught by example helping a family member or friend, and not considered some of that process may not be common knowledge.
  • And so on, and so on.

Consider the possible reasons why it’s easier for them instead.  Inquire about possible variant conditions like what I’ve mentioned above or any others I didn’t list out that also will likely feel so obvious once you hit upon that “ah-ha!” moment when their answer shows you one possible reason why it’s not so easy for you.  Keep asking any you can think of as long as they will humor you, because it might not be just that one difference, it might be another, or a combo of that one plus another.

Don’t give up if it’s something you really want to have, and know you should be able to grow where you are.  I’m not talking about if you’re doing something outside the norm like trying to grow orange trees outdoors in Maine.  Here I mean: you did the research; you’re in the right zone; you planted at least close to on time; you didn’t forget to build the habit of minding them the first few days after; and so forth.

Be happy when you meet folks that respond to your plant woes with that, “Really?  Those are easy to grow!” response.  Seize upon that moment, and tell them you’d like an opportunity to compare your gardens so maybe you can figure out why it’s not as easy for you.  They could reveal the buried secret that has so far eluded you without even realizing what it is ahead of time.  Even if they don’t, at least you tried, and now you have a host of things you can tick off your list that might have been the problem.


Care to share thoughts on this?