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Starting Small With Tiny Gardens

We’ve all been there. Stuck between our inspired visions of all the “real” gardening we imagine ourselves doing someday and the seemingly insurmountable reality of no time, no space, and no idea where to start or what to prioritize. Maybe we’ve bitten off more than we could chew a time or two and have convinced ourselves we just have a brown thumb and that’s that. And then we go over to our friend’s even smaller apartment and see their honestly really impressive front porch garden. So obviously it was never the case that there was genuinely nothing we could do. Just a persistent mental block, and maybe a genuine need for a little bit of guidance so we can start having some encouraging small successes to build upon.

Fortunately, there are experienced gardeners out there who not only aren’t looking down their noses at people like us but truly want to help us flummoxed newbies get over the hump and join their ranks. One such group of start-small mentors has come together under the ReFarmers and Abundant Earth Foundation banners to form the Tiny Gardens project. And to incentivize us to go ahead and get some seeds in some soil, they’re running a contest with a $300 cash prize! It’s called the Tiny Gardens, Big Revolution Contest, and it’s designed to bridge that gap between those grandiose visions of ourselves as amazing farmers “someday” and that persistent sense of stuckness that so many of us have come to take for granted.

Well no more! With Tiny Gardens, there’s plenty of potential for genuinely gratifying results, while still being easy enough that anyone (even me) can get their hands dirty without getting overwhelmed.

And it really couldn’t be any more simple. All you have to do is create any kind of tiny garden that grows food (including herbs) or pollinator-attracting flowers, share 2 pictures (or one video) of your process, include the appropriate hashtags, and sign up for an email list you’d presumably want to receive anyway. And voila: you’ve got a shot at $300! But more importantly, you’re officially a gardener! How’d that happen??

Well, assuming it DOES happen, it’ll be because you DID it. But you’ve gotta get going, because you’ve only got until July 20th. Why not head on over to right now and find an option that even I couldn’t possibly screw up? The whole trick is just to take advantage of the motivation when you actually have some. So if you’re inspired right now, then go ahead and take the first step! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I’m sure that I’m ineligible for the prize, but I’ll be happy to share pictures of my potatoes that are finally thriving this year after several previous false starts. See? There IS hope for us brown thumbs. Hope!


Article graphic designed by: Cevahir Ozruh

Author Bio:

Bert McDert is a big fan of big ideas, especially in the areas of systems and the mind-body interface. He specifically digs permaculture, sociocracy, bioregionalism, open-source ecology, myofascial release, and about a billion different philosophical and spiritual rabbit holes. I do massage and MFR on humans and horses, I’m adjusting to being newly Midwestern rural life, and on weekends I DJ. I try to stay abreast of — and involved in — developments toward a truly regenerative culture because it’s about the only antidote I know of for the otherwise crushing dread and grief of living through biosphere collapse.

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