With nearly 20 million more people picking up their shovels and getting their hands dirty in 2021, more growers than ever are getting into gardening, one of the oldest and most popular hobbies in the world. However, with all these new green enthusiasts, does every starting gardener turn out to be triumphant? What qualities of a good gardener do you have to distinguish your garden from others?
Although anyone can grow vegetables with a little effort and knowledge, good gardeners enjoy several qualities and skills that set them apart. The most prominent ones are:
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In this article, we clear the air, push back the myths, and dive deeper into the “skill set” and qualities you need to become a quality gardener. You may be surprised that you already have some or all the hallmarks other successful home gardeners possess, and taking action is the only thing holding you back. So let’s get into it and help deliver you to the gardening promise lands!
- Discover the number one gardening quality that will help make your garden a success BEFORE you start it so you can grow your grub with confidence!
- Save time by knowing the three most common skills new gardeners need – or can develop – to get your garden fast-tracked to success!
- Boost both physical and mental well-being while empowering your family and those in your community by developing these ten essential qualities – even if you don’t have them now!
What Makes A Good Gardener
The hallmark of a good gardener is their unwavering passion. Everything excites them, from designing their gardens to watching the first seedlings sprout each season. Likewise, their dedication is evident, and while some skills and qualities come naturally to a good grower, they embrace learning what they don’t know from others through persistence and experience.
While experienced growers may make gardening look incredibly easy, their consistent passion is the glue that binds everything together. But this passion isn’t exclusive to just the garden. This devotion is equally present when gardeners speak and apparent when they learn. And yes, it’s even evident when they make “mistakes” because they realize there are none, only learning experiences. Passion even shines through in moments of so-called failure yet leaves the victorious gardener with a tinge of excitement and wonder that drives them further. 1
What Skills Do Gardeners Need
A good, skillful gardener has the following three primary skills:
- Physically active
- Good organization and efficiency
- Knowledgeable experience
Let’s take a closer look at each of these common gardening attributes.
Traditionally, gardeners had to move, bend, squat, kneel, reach, climb, and stretch quite a lot in the garden. Although some of this movement has lessened with better ergonomic tools, high-standing growing beds, and garden trolleys, gardening still requires some physical labor. Therefore, a good gardener must be consistently and comfortably active within their growing space throughout the growing season. That means investing in the right tools, clothing, and shoes that are right for you makes all the difference.
Good Organization And Efficiency
To run a garden efficiently, proper organization is crucial. Crop rotations, fertilizer usage, first and last average frost dates, soil amendments, and sowing recommendations are just a fraction of the things you’ll need to keep straight.
There’s a lot to account for when gardening, no matter how small your growing space may be, and it’s wise to keep track of it all. Trust me, you don’t want to leave everything to chance assuming you’ll remember. Invest in a simple notebook or planner to keep yourself situated and write down even the most trivial events or actions. A few dollars invested on a pad of paper and a pen goes a long way when growing your food. 2
When I began my gardening journey, I thought everything I did would be easily remembered. Little did I know just how costly that mistake would be. What worked for me in the first season was soon forgotten the next. If only I had recorded my experiences and built on them, I would have saved myself some serious time. Sure, I remembered some things, but not all. That was my error. Please don’t make it yours.
I’m a firm believer that good gardeners are created, not born. You may have talent and a “green touch,” but there is no substitute for experience when working with Mother Nature. Every season equally humbles and inspires you. Likewise, every seed you sow teaches a lesson while any pest or disease you encounter provides a learning opportunity. Good gardeners don’t let any of these moments go to waste. Instead, they take the experience gained and knowledge learned from each interaction and become better because of them.
Here’s a video I found that helps you save time by learning 7 of the most common habits of effective gardeners and offers some extra pointers to help get your garden started right.
Home gardening also plays a part in both physical and mental health for the individual and the benefiting community. Gardeners are more positive while working outside in conjunction with nature as it provides them with a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
What Are The Qualities Of A Good Gardener
A good gardener has certain qualities that distinguish them and their sustained gardening success. For many growers, these common qualities developed over time and through years of experience, with the practice of gardening itself honing these core values within them.
Below are 10 of the top qualities of good gardeners. Of course, you’ll likely find a few characteristics you already possess. However, when you’re just starting, the key is focusing on your traits while allowing your gardening practice to help develop and mature new ones over time.
And always remember, no matter where you start, your gardening journey should be fun. The positive strides you take in the garden matter because, in the end, you enjoy and reap the rewards of delicious crops and the understanding of a job well done. 3
While gardening is a rewarding experience, patience is a fleeting virtue in today’s era that demands instant results. However, patience is part of the expectation when growing your food. For example, sown seeds don’t magically become mature plants with budding fruit overnight. Asparagus, for instance, can take up to two years to yield sufficient harvests. Even fast-growing tomato varieties, like the Sub-Artic variety, take six weeks to bear fruit. Nevertheless, the anticipation of biting into your first ripe tomato of the season, or the satisfying crunch of an asparagus spear, keeps the hopeful gardener consistently patient.
In addition, being a gardener requires dealing with bugs, weeds, critters, and diseases; in other words, third parties that love to test your patience and then some. But remember, as a gardener, you control what you can and everything else you chalk up to a learning experience. In the end, a gardener’s patience always pays off and makes gardening a gratifying activity in its own right.
A good gardener has an impressive imagination and a creative mind. Their creativity knows no limit as they constantly try new plant combinations and the latest garden accessories and equipment. Creativity is essential for any gardener because it unlocks new ideas that helps promote plant health.
Creativity is sometimes about more than just the bright color patterns of a garden or the size and design of the vegetable beds within. That’s why when gardening and creativity meet, the results that follow are phenomenal.
Garden creativity is about developing the ideal environment that helps plants grow bigger, become healthier, and produce more come harvest. It’s about creating the best environment possible to keep your plants happy, which any good gardener is constantly looking to improve.
Perhaps more than any other quality, creativity tends to hold new growers back simply because they believe they don’t have any. However, just wanting to grow food in your backyard is original enough to get the creative juices flowing. So, have faith in yourself, take one step at a time, and see where your creativity takes you.
As mentioned above, passion is an essential quality every gardener should possess. It takes a lot of care, attention to detail, and organizational skills if you want your garden to look its best and produce abundant harvests. And passion lies at the root of it all.
Because gardening is a labor of love, passion is not limited to growing and harvesting crops. It includes loving the smell of fresh soil, embracing the challenges as they come, and feeling satisfaction as the first tomato, cucumber, or pepper begins to form.
If you are starting your garden, soil health is one of the most critical elements in your garden, yet also the most overlooked by new gardeners. But, of course, passion first starts with the soil your plants call home. Fortunately, I wrote an entire article about the best topsoil your plants will love and how to amend the current soil you have.
Good gardeners know the passion they display for gardening is essential for success. They see how the love and attention they provide for their flourishing plants return to them with overflowing yields. Fortunately, this passion makes all the difference and is a simple choice any new gardener can pledge towards their benefit and future success. 4
Another indispensable quality gardeners possess is their eagerness and drive to see things through. Vegetable gardening has a purpose. Good gardeners know their purpose is not just to grow plants that provide fruits and vegetables to feed themselves and their families but to grow them correctly in a way nature intends and the plants expect.
For example, it is only natural for a beginner to become excited about the results after sowing their seeds. However, a seasoned gardener feels more than just enthusiastic about future results. They are eager to enjoy the entire growing experience, from daily checkups to watering and ensuring the plant gets the right amount of light and nutrients throughout the growing cycle. That’s purpose.
Further, good gardeners also have a keen eye for detail. They become eagle-eye observers over their growing space, seeing things others may miss completely or take for granted. This purpose-driven effort makes them excellent at finding problems early on and solving them before they become significant issues that may affect the health and vitality of their garden.
A curious gardener yearns to become better. Curiosity in the garden helps growers stay motivated to try new methods and attain better results. It also helps them remain atop trouble areas they may encounter in their garden. The possibilities in gardening are unlimited, and as such, only a curious mind can utilize each experience successfully to its full benefit.
A curious gardener is actively searching, learning, and growing, much like the plants they are cultivating. It isn’t someone who is sitting back on their heels. Likewise, curiosity loves spending hands-on time outdoors in the garden, observing budding crops, and planning ideas for a better, more abundant growing next season.
Like a child, a good gardener freely admits not having all the answers yet is actively seeking them. This is because they know they can do more good for themselves and their plants by taking this proactive, constructive, and curious approach. As the gardener stares in wonder and awe, everything becomes a beautiful mystery for them to uncover. Moreover, curiosity keeps things interesting and provides excitement and intrigue to your gardening endeavors.
The art of gardening requires constant attention and effort. Therefore, being aware of your responsibilities and ensuring they are fulfilled promptly is crucial to your garden’s overall health and production.
Gardening is a great way to take ownership of your environment and help cultivate a healthy growing space. By preparing the soil correctly, fertilizing as needed, and removing diseased or dead plants, gardeners can ensure their garden receives the care it needs to thrive.
Staying committed and responsible in your gardening practice helps reduce potential risks by monitoring challenging issues and maintaining good gardening sanitation practices. Responsibility also provides more outside time for the quality gardener, as these matters are carefully monitored. It’s this systematic management that helps increase the grower’s focus while providing an environment rich with learning and growth.
Throwing some seeds in the dirt and hoping they produce without any help from you, the grower, may work in fairy tales, but not in your backyard garden. So here’s another video that helps you understand some successful traits of gardeners. Remember, you learn as you grow in gardening. That’s what makes this ancient practice fun and rewarding.
Determination And Perseverance
Determination and focus are essential to any beginning or seasoned home gardener. Growers are people who don’t give up easily; period, end of the story. Sure, we all face challenges occasionally, and you will too. But, the best gardeners hone their skills and persevere no matter the time, energy, or commitment involved.
The key here is to embrace these trying and testing moments, not run away from them. Good gardeners are determined to see their projects through, whether it’s a fungal disease, inclement weather, a rabbit infestation, or building a new gardening bed. Finishing the job well is the green motto. 5
Gardeners relish these moments of so-called difficulties because of their unwavering passion and commitment to growing their food and enjoying the entire process, both good and bad. They rely on their patience and knowledge in seeking a solution and are eager and excited to see it through to completion.
Determination and perseverance are two of a quality gardener’s most fundamental and defining characteristics. Good gardeners don’t run from inevitable challenges. Instead, they warmly welcome them because they know it gives them an opportunity for growth. Embodying this positive mentality helps you reach extraordinary heights in your gardening journey.
Depending on the size of your growing space, gardening is as time-consuming as you make it. That’s why I recommend starting small, understanding the basics, and expanding after a year or so or whenever you feel ready.
A good gardener understands the learning curve they face in the garden when met with a new challenge. That’s why they must set realistic timelines for achieving their goals. For example, building a garden to feed a family of four takes time, patience, and perseverance – all qualities previously mentioned in this article.
Gardeners also design their space practically. Therefore, they must keep the amount of available space, gardening methods, and regional climate in mind when planting and growing their vegetables. Learning how Mother Nature acts in their neck of the woods helps keep them within a pragmatic “gardening lane” while avoiding unfortunate mistakes.
The good news is there’s nothing you can’t fix in your garden. Many highly productive gardens produce delicious fruits and vegetables on land, once barren and without nutrients. But, just as in life, there may be some disappointing times ahead in the garden. And sometimes, the best remedial reaction is to laugh at the absurdity and begin again.
Resilience is a crucial trait of that successful gardener. And aside from finding ways to improve their garden and the health of their plants, gardening is also about self-discipline. Resilience means that gardeners who start a garden stick with it no matter the weather, climate, challenge, or situation. They’ve committed themselves to their cause by prioritizing their schedule and managing their time to care for their plants and feed their family. As a result, they never give up on their goals, no matter the obstacles.
Gardening is a rewarding experience that requires many skills to develop over time. However, successful gardeners relish the final result of feeding themselves and their families with plump tomatoes, sweet corn, and tasty potatoes. That’s what gardening is genuinely all about; serving and providing.
A good gardener is about the final product and then reevaluating how they can use what they’ve learned over the current season for the next. There’s no judgment in this process, just pure observation and the desire to grow, much like the plants they care for. This time of reflection is yet another excellent place to whip out your notebook and jot down some notes that can be useful for the following year.
However, failure in the garden is surprisingly good because it often teaches lessons you may have never learned otherwise. Believe it or not, taking chances and failing in growing food is a big part of becoming a successful gardener because failure is the mother of all teachers.
Yes, after all that work, what seems like an utter disaster in your garden can be frustrating, and I get it. No one wants to feel the results of their labor are for naught. But it’s in these moments when you learn. And it’s important to understand that when a mishap occurs, you actively take advantage of the opportunity and grasp the secrets gardening offers by giving yourself the space to “fail” to be successful.
Do You Need All The Qualities To Be A Successful Gardener
Possessing all the qualities of a successful gardener is optional for achievement in your growing space. Although having several attributes may help get your garden started initially, beginning with a few or none of these qualities is perfectly acceptable as it doesn’t define your overall, long-term gardening ambitions.
Gardening ultimately comes down to action, and every quality a grower enjoys contributes towards achieving their desired result by extending to others. For example, patience actively presents as endurance and perseverance when caring daily for plants in the garden. Likewise, curiosity is action in motion when a good gardener actively seeks, learns, and applies their craft. And because a gardener’s journey is never complete, you see the humble gardener’s responsibility shine through in their purpose and results-oriented focus for a job well done come harvest. 6
Although gardening may seem intimidating or even daunting to some, it should be an exciting opportunity to grow your food while expanding and bettering yourself through developing these critical qualities. Remember, you’re doing more than growing crops in your garden. You’re also cultivating and nurturing yourself in the process. What can be more beautiful?
Aside from all the fantastic qualities and benefits gardening helps you develop, gardening also helps tremendously with physical and mental health. These therapeutic gardens have a marked impact on the body and the mind as people are exposed to plants and provide them care throughout their maturation.
Becoming a good gardener includes many skills and qualities that help any garden prosper. But remember, good growers aren’t born. They’re made. And because it takes time to understand the fundamentals of their craft, it’s good to start small and take things one day at a time.
It doesn’t matter if you are maintaining a backyard garden on a half-acre plot in the country or a thriving urban balcony garden. It’s best to start with a humble mindset, understand that challenges will occur, yet are eager to learn and “grow” along with your plants in knowledge, experience, and practice.
As you can see, many of the gardening skills mentioned above naturally project to others. For example, patience in the garden means having the resilience and determination to see jobs through to the end. Being practical in setting garden goals means being responsible for your actions and managing your daily priorities. Likewise, a gardener who has purpose also becomes passionate and creative about their craft.
However, to become a prosperous grower, you don’t have to have any of these aforementioned skills when just beginning. You can “grow” along with your plants and be widely successful as long as you are determined to learn. The fun of gardening is that the practice helps you form these critical characteristics as you cultivate your crops each passing season by creating a rich environment for knowledge and personal inner development.
So, what qualities have you unearthed in yourself while managing your garden? Meet me in the comments below and share your successes!