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Monday, May 18, 2020

Stop Calling Yourself a "Brown Thumb"

I get messages all the time from people saying they wish they could grow food but they "just have a brown thumb." Well, I hate to say it guys, but you're selling yourself short. Anyone can grow food! Anyone who wants to, and is willing to learn. If you've killed a lot of plants, that's ok! We all have. You just have to learn from it and try something different next time.  People aren't just born with a skill (like gardening), or not born with it. It's not hereditary, it's not part of your personality, it's not just a part of who you are. Talents maybe, sure, but not skills and crafts.
You gain a skill or a craft by learning, investigating, trying, failing, and trying some more. By getting help from people who know more about it than you do. So don't be so hard on yourself! You are not a "Brown Thumb!" You are simply a person who has failed at a new thing (totally normal), perhaps more than once (or several times, also, totally normal), and without the proper guidance and direction, came to a stand still, and decided that gardening just isn't for you.
But I am here to tell you that ANYONE can garden. It can be big or small, meek or mighty, or anything in between. But it's up to YOU to look at growing food as a SKILL, not a talent. You have to be willing to learn, to dig for information, and you cannot be afraid of failures along the way. You build your knowledge base by watching and learning from others who have already been where you are. 
Listen, every single "successful" or seasoned gardener has left a wake of mistakes behind them, and yes, I absolutely fit into this category. Not only have I had plenty of crop failures, but I continue to learn from mistakes regularly, and even occasionally kill a plant or two. The difference between a "gardener" and a "brown thumb" is that the gardener refuses to allow those little failures to stop them. A brown thumb is focusing on all the plants they've killed, and assuming that they just aren't cut out for it. Instead of asking "What did I learn from that stupid dead plant? And what can I do differently next time?" A brown thumb isn't reaching out for help. Maybe gardening isn't that important to them, and that's perfectly fine, it truly is not for everyone. However, it is a sad thing to see a person who is truly passionate about gardening, or someone who really does want to grow their own food, limiting themselves with a title of brown thumb.
I've used the word "failures" a few times here and I think it's important to note that I don't believe in all failures as a negative experience. I view failures as a learning opportunity. Giving up on something you're passionate about, thats a true lack of success. A small failure that you overcome is merely an obstacle. And what happens when you overcome obstacles? You get stronger and stronger. So stop calling yourself a brown thumb! Learn from it, grow from it, change your approach, and stick around here so I can continue to teach and guide you. 
It's Monday, and I'm in the mood to motivate. Hope this finds you well. Happy gardening!
-MB

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