The Part-time Gardener #1: Gardening as a part-time “hobby”

Ke huli ka lima iluna, pololi ka opu;
Ke huli ka lima ilalo, piha ka ‘opu.

When your hands are turned up, you will be hungry. 
When your hands are turned to the soil, you will be full.
– Native Hawaiian Proverb

I first heard this proverb as a volunteer at Ma’o Farms on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. It is one of the most powerful statements I’ve ever come across. It reminds me that when our hands are turned up in expectation, we’ll be hungry. But when our hands are down, doing the hard work of cultivating the land – we can find a literal and figurative nourishment.

I hesitate to call edible gardening a “hobby” because the ability and knowledge to grow your own plants and vegetables should just be a part of being human. That being said, there are so many things vying for our attention today – family, friends, work, other hobbies… for most people, it basically gets categorized as a hobby.

The best fertilizer is the farmer’s shadow. 

Gardening is hard work. The most productive gardens will be the ones the most thought out and to which the most attention has been given. For many people I know, it’s a full-time, primary hobby. This series, however, will be for those of us who want to incorporate growing edibles into our lives but see it as more of a “part-time” endeavor. I’ll try to share my experiences in an accessible and non-intimidating way. I don’t by any means profess to be an expert. Rather my angle is to share honest experiences about home gardening, when you’re starting at zero. It’s about us all learning together.

As I’ve traveled down the wormhole of gardening, I’ve found it’s actually very technical and I’ve been increasingly impressed with how the natural world works and with those who have extensive knowledge. I’ve been blown away by the people I’ve met in my journey. But my personal opinion is that you can garden well enough with some basic truths and without understanding everything.  The most important thing is to get growing!

With hands to soil,

Erin

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