After my initial reading and research,
I've learned that Gardening and Parenting are very similar.
- While there are just a few guiding principles that remain, hundreds of "methods" come and go.
- The excitement you feel when the tiniest seed leaves peek thru the soil is eerily similar to the joy that comes with your baby's firsts... rolling over, sitting up, walking. You know it's going to happen at some point, but it's so exciting when it does. I found myself saying, "Good job, little guy, now keep growing!"
- Once the Real leaves sprout (yep, I totally know what those are now!) it's like entering the toddler years. They sort of have a mind of their own and you just never know what to expect. Will they thrive or throw a tantrum?
- Hardening off the little seedlings to plant outside is like sending your kids to preschool, starting with small increments of time in the most controlled and structured environments so we don't startle the little things when they make the move to big school... I mean, the big yard.
- After 5 inches or 5 years of nurturing, you hope and pray that they're ready for transplanting.
- Then, you have to start worrying about who they associate with... will they get along with their playmates? Some bring out the worst in them and others bring out their best. I wish as parents we could companion plant!
- Boundaries are important. You need to keep the weeds out and the tendrils trained. This usually requires third party involvement... teachers and trellises.
- Occasionally, your little darling may need to be transplanted to a different environment more suitable to his/her personality. Sometimes, they need more room and freedom to roam and grow.
- Watch out for predators! Squirrels and birds look sweet and innocent until they pluck your sprout right from the ground. The bad guys usually don't look scary.
- Too much of a good thing can be harmful. Sun, water, and fertilizing in balance produces the best results. Finding that balance takes patience, time and attention. Parenting is the ultimate balancing act.
- One can hope that at the end of the season, you have some fruit to show for all your hard work.
- It's hard work and a lot more fun than I thought it would be.
- And, it all starts with a little seed.