Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Too soon old, Too late smart"

Recently that phrase really hit home, via a gardening book of all things! Ack! Can you believe that?

The revelation hit me smack-dab head-on as I reached about page 100 of Toby Hemenway's book, Gaia's Garden. If I had been taught these very basic and logical fundamentals years ago, I would have a very different garden (and a very different mindset about a lot of other things long before now)... I'd have a garden that would be nearly 100% self-sustaining AND with such rich, balanced, living soil that it would supply almost all of my produce food needs, as well as sensual enjoyment of aromas and color in flowers! But I still couldn't grow olives and lemons here without a greenhouse...  :(

I was a little bit angry about the hindsight; maybe I still am a bit. Why isn't this stuff taught to everyone, and especially all school kids? Then I wondered if I was perhaps / maybe I was taught some of it in dribs and drabs (like in 8th grade biology, or freshman geology) but never connected the dots? Or is it just how Hemenway lays it all out together, so that it makes perfect sense?

Or is it like the old Zen saying goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." ?

At any rate, this book is now helping me towards a new (and/or better) understanding and pathway to garden self-reliance and the connectedness of all things. To put it another way, it feels like (re)integrating myself back into the "real, natural world".

If I can only afford to buy ONE book in the next year or even five years, it will be this one! The paperback copy I am reading is on inter-library loan, and apparently well-read as it's pencil-marked, creased and tattered. I'm glad to see it has been used a LOT because it means others are on the same path!

(There will be some posts soon about implementing some of the book's ideas this fall. I suspect it will take 5 years for my garden to begin to function fully in this manner.)


  1. I know some folks prefer to buy new books, but I like to recycle the used ones. I check abebooks.com (http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=Hemenway%2C+Toby&sts=t&tn=Gaia%27s+Garden&x=61&y=7) and you can get a used copy of this books for $11.20 (plus $3 shipping) on up. I empathize with your frustration about learning things that could have helped years ago, if only...! I look forward to reading your posts about insights from this book.

  2. Marrion, I generally buy used books myself. However, this one I want NEW to make my own margin notes... the library copy I'm reading is well-marked but not necessarily with the things that interest me the most.


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