Growing New Skills

Growing New Skills

Andrew de SenaJul 5, '19

It’s been a journey, growing at home, and I wasn’t always interested. I came from a long line of farmers, and even helped in the fields as a child, but unfortunately I just wasn’t interested. Like many skills, a wealth of knowledge can be learned from history and past experiences, but mastering gardening can only come with first hand trial and error. Fortunately I had a tiny bit of experience from the lessons I did pay attention to.

Fast forward to college, still years before my first garden. I was into pot (surprise) and suddenly I was interested in how plants grow. I read books of many types, the most memorable being the quintessential The Cannabis Grow Bible, written by Greg Green in 2003. This taught me a lot about growing, and I was able to apply much of the general knowledge to my vegetable garden when the time came. But even without this knowledge, I recommend you just get growing.


Barriers to Entry

Honestly, are there really any real ones? I spent years during college dreaming of a garden, or even a house plant, and I had plenty of excuses to keep it out of my life: No space outdoors, not enough light indoors, and the list goes on. Turns out, I was the only barrier to entry, and I successfully kept plants out of my life for years even when family would try to give me a cut of something.

One day I accepted a begonia cutting from my family (left). This plant had been in my family longer than I, and this bit came in a jar of water. No soil. I don’t recommend a hydroponic operation of any kind for a first time grower, but clean water is more than enough to keep a plant alive, and even grow roots!

Just Let It Grow

My little begonia sprouted roots in just a matter of days! When I had some time I moved it to soil and watched it really take off. This experience was invaluable: I cultivated life, and it was thriving.

I was quickly hooked. I would let it grow just enough to take more cuttings, giving them out to friends and family. Years later, this is still happening, and I’d like to give a special shout out to my in-laws. For some reason, no cutting from the begonia has thrived more than the one at their house!

My First Garden

Some time after the begonia, my wife and moved into a home with a 14' x 14' in-ground garden in the back yard (below). It was spring time, and I was excited to get some plants growing. I tilled the soil, made tidy rows, sewed my seeds and planted some sprouts too. From there, my experience snowballed into the confidence I have today.

Now, I can’t tell you I have it all figured out. In fact, I’ve had a whole lot of trouble with a few factors; ones that many gardeners face. I’ll go into these challenges with more detail in future articles, but suffice to say that many years later my fingers are still crossed for a bountiful tomato season. I think I’ve got it figured out this time…


I’m sharing this story not because it’s special, or of great interest in some way, but because it’s normal and quite frankly, boring. The point I’d like to make is that if you have an interest in growing a plant, you should just do it. Likely, your excuses are as lame as mine were, but the truth is that you could grow beautiful, delicious harvests right in your home. Once you start, I bet you’ll be hooked. There’s something very rewarding about growing at home.

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