Alicia DeVore

In the vast sea of gardening advice, where every wave brings a new tip or trick promising lush yields and vibrant blooms, it’s easy to feel adrift in information overload. From the precise pH levels of soil to the intricate dance of crop rotation, the abundance of “must-know” guidelines can leave even the most enthusiastic gardener feeling overwhelmed and underprepared. 

But amidst this whirlwind of well-meaning advice, I stumbled upon a set of simple principles that have transformed my gardening experience from a chore into a joy. This isn’t about a secret formula or a high-tech tool; it’s about embracing a fundamental principle that guides the natural world itself. Let’s take a look at how to unlock your garden potential with one simple achievable step.

Observation: The Key to Unlocking Your Garden’s Potential

Yes, the powerful thing that made all the difference in my gardening journey was as simple as observing. Not just a quick glance while watering, but truly seeing—immersing myself in the quietness of what was going on in my garden. 

Observation is the compass that has guided generations of gardeners before us, a practice as old as agriculture itself, yet it remains profoundly impactful today.

Here’s how observation revolutionized my approach to gardening:

  • Understanding My Garden’s Unique Ecosystem: Every garden is a microcosm of life, with its specific conditions, challenges, and opportunities. By observing, I learned the patterns of sunlight and shade across my garden, identified which areas retained moisture longer, and noticed where the wind was strongest. These insights allowed me to place plants exactly where they would thrive best.

  • Anticipating Plant Needs: Plants communicate their needs in subtle ways—a slight droop in the leaves might indicate thirst, while yellowing could suggest nutrient deficiencies or too much water. Through careful observation, I started to anticipate and meet the needs of my plants ahead of time, nurturing them into healthier, more productive beauties.

  • Harmonizing with Nature’s Rhythms: Gardening is not just about what we do but when we do it. Observation taught me to work in sync with nature’s cycles—from planting in the right timing to recognizing the optimal time for pruning. This alignment not only enhanced my garden’s vitality and quieted my own heart in the chaos of the world.

  • Becoming a Pest Detective: Instead of reaching for chemical solutions at the first sign of pests, observation equipped me to identify friend from foe. I learned which insects were beneficial and which were harmful, and I discovered natural ways to encourage the beneficial insects as much as possible.

  • Celebrating Small Successes: In the hustle to fix problems and improve yields, it’s easy to overlook the miracles unfolding right before our eyes. Observation has taught me to appreciate the beauty of a single bloom, the tenacity of a seedling breaking through the soil, and the satisfaction of harvesting food I grew myself.

By embracing observation as a cornerstone of my gardening practice, I’ve not only achieved more successful outcomes but have also found a profound sense of peace and fulfillment in the process. Gardening is no longer a series of tasks to be perfected but a journey of discovery and connection. 

For those feeling overwhelmed by the avalanche of gardening advice, I encourage you to take a step back and observe. You might just find that the most powerful tool at your disposal doesn’t come from a store or a book but from your own capacity to engage with the living, breathing world around you.

Focusing on One Key Strategy to Reach a Growing Garden

In the realm of gardening, where advice is as plentiful as the seeds in a catalog, the temptation to juggle multiple strategies in pursuit of the perfect garden can lead to confusion, frustration, and diminished outcomes. This is why narrowing down to a single, overarching strategy—like the practice of observation—can not only simplify the process but also amplify its effectiveness, making the goal of growing a thriving garden more attainable and enjoyable.

Simplification Leads to Clarity in Gardening Plan

By focusing on one key strategy, you eliminate the noise that clutters your gardening journey. This decluttering allows for a clearer path forward, free from the paralysis that often accompanies the analysis of too many options. When you dedicate yourself to understanding and implementing one core principle, such as observing the needs of your garden, you develop a deeper comprehension than if your attention were scattered across numerous approaches.

Increases Effectiveness Through Mastery

The adage “jack of all trades, master of none” holds true in the context of gardening. Spreading your efforts thinly over various techniques dilutes your ability to execute any single one with excellence. Conversely, concentrating on mastering one strategy enables you to apply it with precision and effectiveness. Observation, for instance, when practiced diligently, becomes second nature. This keen awareness leads to timely interventions—be it watering, fertilizing, or pest control—that are crucial for nurturing a healthy garden.

Makes Achieving Goals More Manageable

Gardening, especially for beginners, can feel like an insurmountable challenges and potential pitfalls. By using a focused approach, the entire process becomes more manageable. It transforms an overwhelming array of tasks into a series of achievable steps grounded in the chosen strategy.

Builds a Deeper Connection and Enjoyment

Gardening ceases to be a mere checklist of tasks and transforms into a mindful engagement with the living ecosystem of your garden. This singular focus develops a deeper connection with nature, heightening the joy and satisfaction derived from gardening. It turns every moment spent in the garden into an opportunity for observation, learning, and growth, both for the gardener and the garden itself.

The Groundbreaking ‘One Thing’: Daily 10-Minute Garden Visits

Dedicating just 10 minutes each day to being in your garden areas is all it takes to use observation. This straightforward commitment, easy to overlook amidst more complex gardening strategies, holds power to significantly enhance not only the health and productivity of your garden.

The Logic Behind Daily Garden Visits

The essence of this approach lies in the power of consistent, focused attention. Just as relationships with people thrive on regular interaction, so does your relationship with your garden. 

These daily visits allow you to closely monitor your plants’ development, detect any emerging issues early and appreciate the subtle changes and growth that occur over time. This routine fosters a deeper understanding and intuition regarding the needs of many plants in your garden.

Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing Your Daily 10-Minute Garden Routine

  1. Set a Specific Time: Choose a time of day that works best for you and your garden, considering the light conditions and your schedule. Morning is often ideal, as it allows you to assess your garden’s needs and enjoy its beauty as a peaceful start to your day.

  2. Create a Habit: Make your daily garden visit a daily habit. Whether it involves taking your morning coffee with you, keeping a journal to note observations, or simply taking deep breaths and centering yourself before you begin, find something that makes this time special.

  3. Observe Closely: Spend the first few minutes of your visit simply observing. Look at the overall health of your plants, check the soil moisture, note any new growth, and watch for signs of pests or diseases.

  4. Perform Minor Tasks: Use the next few minutes to perform small, manageable tasks such as weeding around a couple of plants, deadheading flowers to encourage more blooms, or watering any particularly thirsty plants.

  5. Enjoy and Reflect: In the final minutes, take the time to enjoy your garden’s beauty and reflect on its growth and changes. Appreciate the birds, insects, and other wildlife that your garden attracts.

  6. Keep a Journal: Consider keeping a garden journal to record your observations, thoughts, and the tasks completed during your visits. This can become a valuable resource for planning and improving your garden year after year.

Tips for a Fruitful Daily Garden Routine

  • Be Flexible: While consistency is key, be flexible with what you do during your visits based on your garden’s needs and the season.

  • Engage Your Senses: Make your visit a sensory experience by noting the smells, textures, and sounds of your garden.

  • Involve Family Members: Share this time with family members, especially children, to cultivate their interest in gardening and nature.

  • Stay Mindful: Use this time as a break from the digital world, focusing on the present moment and the living, breathing ecosystem you’re nurturing.

My Daily Garden Visits Transformation

Embarking on my gardening journey, I stumbled upon a simple yet profound strategy that promised to cut through the noise: dedicating just 10 minutes each day to being present in my garden. Skeptical but intrigued, I decided to give this ‘one thing’ approach a try, not realizing it would completely transform my relationship with my garden.

The Early Days: Building a Habit

The initial challenge was integrating this new practice into my daily routine. I chose the early mornings, a time of quiet before the day’s demands took hold. These visits quickly became a cherished ritual, a moment of peace and connection with nature.

However, it wasn’t always easy. But as the days turned into weeks, the habit took root, and the thought of missing my morning ritual felt akin to neglecting a dear friend.

Observations and Interventions: Small Steps, Big Impact

One of the first things I noticed was how attuned I became to the subtle changes within my garden. A drooping leaf, a vibrant bloom, or an unwelcome pest—details I would have previously overlooked now caught my attention. This close observation allowed me to address issues promptly, often with simple interventions that prevented minor problems from escalating into major crises.

For instance, spotting the early signs of aphid infestation on my kale or tomatoes led me to introduce ladybugs as a natural control measure, saving my blooms without resorting to harsh chemicals.

Deepening Connections: Beyond the Plants

I began to notice the bees bustling about in the early morning light, the birds that visited my feeder, and even the patterns of the sun and shade across part sun my yard. My garden became a sanctuary, a place of learning and discovery, fostering a sense of wonder and appreciation for the intricate web of life.

Triumphs and Reflections: The Joy of Growth

Over time, the impact of this ‘one thing’ strategy on my garden was undeniable. Plants flourished, yields increased, and the overall vitality of my garden space improved dramatically. But beyond these tangible successes, the greatest triumph was my transformation. I became more patient, observant, and connected to the natural world. The stress and overwhelm that had initially clouded my gardening experience gave way to joy and mindfulness.

Conclusion: A Journey of Continuous Learning with a Vegetable Garden

My daily garden visits have taught me that gardening is not just about the result—it’s about the journey. The challenges and setbacks I’ve encountered along the way have been valuable lessons in resilience and adaptability. This ‘one thing’ strategy has simplified my approach to gardening, making it more manageable and enjoyable, and I continue to learn and grow with each visit.

Sharing this personal journey is an invitation to others who may feel overwhelmed by gardening to try this simple, transformative practice. By committing just 10 minutes a day to your garden, you may discover, as I did, that the garden plans greatest wonders often lie in the smallest moments.

Now you know my secret to achieving a successful garden. It’s time to put this strategy to work and see how it can turn your aspirations into reality.

Need guidance on your gardening journey? My comprehensive guide, The Greenthumb Toolkit EBook,’ offers deeper insights, advice, and tips. Download it for free below:

Embark on a transformative gardening journey with “The GreenThumb Toolkit EBook,” your essential guide to flourishing gardens. This eBook is packed with innovative strategies and practical insights for optimizing tiny areas and selecting the right plant varieties. 

As we conclude this exploration, remember that this toolkit serves as a crucial stepping stone toward realizing your gardening dreams, no matter the size of your garden. Download your copy today and begin cultivating a vibrant, thriving garden that reflects your passion and perseverance.


How does garden planning help me grow a vegetable garden?

Garden planning ensures you make the best use of your space and resources, leading to a flourishing garden by timing plantings correctly and choosing suitable plants for your environment.

For instance, planting cool-season crops in fall or spring, helps you to have a garden year-round with a bountiful harvest. Knowing and planning for this type of growing season allows you to have the most vegetables planted in the right season.

Having a plan also allows you to know how to extend growing into a long growing season whether through winter to summer.

Does square-foot gardening work with this too?

Yes, square-foot gardening is highly compatible with garden planning. It allows for efficient use of space and resources, making it easier to manage and maintain to produce a productive garden.

In smaller gardens, like a kitchen garden, using raised beds with high soil quality and lots of organic matter like compost, with at least six hours of full sun will give you the most with how much space is in your garden plan and garden area.

Vegetable crops that have a garden layout that is close together like square foot gardening allow for companion planting of most crops instead of traditional rows that waste a lot of space.

How do planting crops in the right season grow a vegetable garden?

Planting crops in the correct season aligns their growth cycle with the optimal environmental conditions, such as temperature and sunlight, ensuring they thrive and yield well, contributing to a thriving house and garden.

For MORE Garden Posts:

The 10 Things You Need to Grow a Productive Garden

Top 3 Beginner Gardening Mistakes to Avoid: Tips for Cultivating Success

5 Tips for What to Plant for Success in Your Kitchen Garden

6 Ways to Effectively Make a Game Plan for Your Garden This Year

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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