Meg Buerkel Hunn, Advisory Council Chair

Mar 7, 2024 | Experiences

I wrote about the GROWTH mindset last year…  you’ll recall that I loved that my daughter’s third grade teacher taught her students the Yeti Way: changing definitive statements and ‘fixed mindsets’ into opportunities to grow and change.  In the Yeti Way, ‘I cannot do long division’ becomes ‘I cannot do long division YET!’  In the Growth Mindset, we always have the opportunity to learn and grow and change – and this does not stop when we finish school years (and long division)!

I am still learning that there is a TON of gardening knowledge yet to learn.  This is my third time working through our Master Gardener lessons, and I am still learning new things… sometimes I wonder when I will FEEL like a ‘Master’ Gardener – I still make many mistakes, parts of my garden are still failing, and I’ve yet to grow a decent crop of chiles…

I’ve learned that garden ‘success’ seems to be based not only on knowledge and wisdom, but also on luck and art and time and weather.  And there are only a few things on that list over which I have control.

This spring, Fred, my brother in law, visited from Minnesota. He was delighted to share with us some tomatoes he had grown in his living room over the Minnesota winter (!!).  He had learned from a YouTube video that one can root the suckers of tomato plants and grow entire new plants – and it worked for him!  (I need to say here that I think plants are SO cool!)  Fred’s experiment was (literally) fruitful – and his Growth Mindset inspired me!

Fred went on to collect the seeds from the tomatoes he grew. He doesn’t know the type of tomato – if it’s a hybrid, the tomatoes will likely not be the same as the ones he loved, but if it’s from an open-pollinated plant, he may very well get more delicious tomatoes from these seeds.

In the process of cleaning the seeds, he soaked them in water… lo and behold, they started to sprout!  He brought the sprouted winter sucker tomato seeds to me, and I have begun an experimental planting of these seeds.  So far, the tiny tomato sprouts are doing well, and I look forward to seeing (and tasting) if the tomatoes are as good as Fred said they were.

This all to say that, as my garden knowledge grows, I feel more empowered to try new things – to experiment – to grow myself!  I hope that you are also inspired to try new things in your gardens this season:  plant some new native plants and/or pollinator plants in your yard, try adding some compost to your garden plots, collect and use rainwater, the list is endless. And – going back to that GROWTH mindset, remind yourself, if things don’t go the way you’d planned, that you are still growing and learning – and that ‘this doesn’t work for me’ becomes ‘this doesn’t work for me YET!’ Keep trying, keep growing!

-Meg

Some resources to help us all grow:

Is your landscape sustainable? https://sandovalmastergardeners.org/is-your-landscape-sustainable/

Native Plant Society of New Mexico https://www.npsnm.org

Irrigation Basics https://www.ose.state.nm.us/WUC/PDF/IrrigationBasics2004.pdf

Perennial Plants for Pollinators in New Mexico https://pubs.nmsu.edu/_h/H182/index.html