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Get Growing: Set your mind to it and watch your knowledge — and urban farm — grow

If you’re the type of person who thinks you can’t possibly be good at something because you weren’t born with a specific innate ability, I invite you to challenge this mindset.
james bio photo
James Lissy (courtesy photo)

Before we get too deep into the weeds of how to grow your own food, there’s one often overlooked aspect that needs to be looked at: your mindset.

This is one of the most important parts of growing your own food or for creating anything successful in life. It also just happens to be a fitting subject as we start off the new year. 

You can’t possibly be good at everything in life as there just aren’t enough hours in the day to master and maintain skills for all of the activities you enjoy. However, you can be good at anything, you just need to realize it. All that is needed is the willpower to put the time and energy into learning a new skill, realize it’s likely not going to be an easy road, and tear down the wall in your mind that you can’t learn this skill and/or you won’t be good at it. 

Of course, you’re not going to be good at it when you first start learning a particular skill, that’s part of the learning process. You have to realize and accept you are currently awful at this skill but you can improve and the sky is the limit. Sure, certain people are likely innately better at certain activities than others, and different people likely have different beginning baselines when they’re starting to learn something new. That doesn’t change the fact that you can learn something new, you might just have to put more effort into it than others.

2021_01_16_LL_get_growing_cerro_soray_summitJames Lissy on the summit of 17,867-foot Cerro Soray in Peru in 2013 on his first "real" mountaineering summit. He summited a second mountain, Salkantay, a few days later. Talk about a steep learning curve. By Photo courtesy of James Lissy
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to having your own urban farm or garden. As you start experimenting and learning you’ll suddenly find yourself learning more about biology, microbiology, meteorology, botany and a whole host of other subjects whether you want to or not. A lot of this knowledge likely will be gained by pure observation, not burying your head in a book, so you’ll essentially be learning by osmosis and you might not even realize it. However, it’s inevitable you’ll start coming up with questions and hopping on professor Google to further your knowledge about what you’re observing. This knowledge isn’t necessary starting out. It would certainly be helpful but far from necessary. All you really need is to take a single seed, put it in some dirt, give it sunshine and water, then just watch the magic happen.

If you’re the type of person who thinks you can’t possibly be good at something because you weren’t born with a specific innate ability, I invite you to challenge this mindset. All you need to do is put the idea in your mind of “maybe I can do this.” Then start putting some effort into it, realizing that starting out you are going to suck at this skill, there’s no way around that. However, when you are really awful at something you can only improve. Challenge your self-imposed limitations, any of us can do anything if we want to. Fear not if you haven’t gardened or tried growing anything before, just jump in head first, realize there will be failures along the way but you can use those failures as learning opportunities to further your knowledge.

If you would like to read the full version of this article then check out my blog post “Breaking Down Your Learning Barriers.”  

Have a question?

If you have any questions or subjects that you would like me to cover in this column, they can be emailed to with the subject of “Longmont Leader Question.. I will happily answer any questions that you may have, after all this column is for you to benefit from and enjoy.