Martial Arts Observations While Gardening

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,874
Reaction score
3,109
Location
Michigan
I've been gardening recently. At my age, you'd think it would be something I'd be more familiar with, but life has kept me otherwise occupied until very recently. Now I am learning to garden for the first time. I find that I enjoy it. I'm not really that interested in the crop yield. I'm interested in the act of gardening itself. I am growing corn, tomatoes, peppers, and lots of sunflowers. Hostas and ferns as well. I've built a nice rain garden in the middle of my front yard, with an underground pipe feeding rainwater from my roof out to it. I've got a long way to go, but I'm learning as I go and the work is very forgiving of rookie mistakes.

As I've grubbed around in the dirt, I've started to notice some things. Some of them inform my martial arts. Some of them are just observations that come to mind while I'm tending my plants that I think have application to my karate.

Here's a few...for what it may be worth.

Time is not your enemy.

Patience is rewarded, but effort is required.

Relaxation is key to maximum effect.

Proper tools make work easier.

Even the best tools rust when they're not used often, and they break when they are used incorrectly.

Weeds grow in untended places. Quickly.

Every plant is different and has its own needs. It will show you what they are if you pay attention.

Renewal is eternal.

Some plants are pretty, some are good to eat, some are invasive, some are poisonous, but all serve a purpose. If a plant serves a purpose you want, use it.

If you don't care for a plant, remove it.

Too much of any one thing makes for a dull garden.

Cycles and circular motions are present in all living things.

The best tools are kept sharp through constant use.

Find the tools that work best for you and discard the ones that don't.

You see your garden best from ground level. Get low.

Plants thrive when cared for.

Old tools that work are better than new ones that don't.

Gardens don't complain if you stop tending them. They just stop being gardens.

Planning helps.

Look for the right approach for any given plant or layout of a garden. Think about what you want and what the plants naturally want to do.

It doesn't matter how nice a tool looks; it's what you can do with it that matters.

Working with plants is a lot easier than trying to force them to do what you want them to do.

If you don't enjoy it, don't do it.

Everything needs water.

Protect your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Feel free to add your own if you wish.
 
D

Deleted member 34973

Guest
I've been gardening recently. At my age, you'd think it would be something I'd be more familiar with, but life has kept me otherwise occupied until very recently. Now I am learning to garden for the first time. I find that I enjoy it. I'm not really that interested in the crop yield. I'm interested in the act of gardening itself. I am growing corn, tomatoes, peppers, and lots of sunflowers. Hostas and ferns as well. I've built a nice rain garden in the middle of my front yard, with an underground pipe feeding rainwater from my roof out to it. I've got a long way to go, but I'm learning as I go and the work is very forgiving of rookie mistakes.

As I've grubbed around in the dirt, I've started to notice some things. Some of them inform my martial arts. Some of them are just observations that come to mind while I'm tending my plants that I think have application to my karate.

Here's a few...for what it may be worth.

Time is not your enemy.

Patience is rewarded, but effort is required.

Relaxation is key to maximum effect.

Proper tools make work easier.

Even the best tools rust when they're not used often, and they break when they are used incorrectly.

Weeds grow in untended places. Quickly.

Every plant is different and has its own needs. It will show you what they are if you pay attention.

Renewal is eternal.

Some plants are pretty, some are good to eat, some are invasive, some are poisonous, but all serve a purpose. If a plant serves a purpose you want, use it.

If you don't care for a plant, remove it.

Too much of any one thing makes for a dull garden.

Cycles and circular motions are present in all living things.

The best tools are kept sharp through constant use.

Find the tools that work best for you and discard the ones that don't.

You see your garden best from ground level. Get low.

Plants thrive when cared for.

Old tools that work are better than new ones that don't.

Gardens don't complain if you stop tending them. They just stop being gardens.

Planning helps.

Look for the right approach for any given plant or layout of a garden. Think about what you want and what the plants naturally want to do.

It doesn't matter how nice a tool looks; it's what you can do with it that matters.

Working with plants is a lot easier than trying to force them to do what you want them to do.

If you don't enjoy it, don't do it.

Everything needs water.

Protect your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Feel free to add your own if you wish.
This reminds of the saying "It is better to be a Warrior in a garden, than a Gardner in a war".

Really insightful Bill
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
10,782
Reaction score
3,705
Now I am learning to garden for the first time. I find that I enjoy it. I'm not really that interested in the crop yield. I'm interested in the act of gardening itself. I am growing corn, tomatoes, peppers, and lots of sunflowers.
You and I must be brothers in another life lol. I grow the same things except the corn. I started 5 years ago and it started as something small and then just turned into something that I just do now. I get more enjoyment out of it than I thought I would.

I don't know if I like it because I just like it, or if I like it because it balances my martial arts mindset. It's definitely a focus activity for me. Sort of like Martial Arts training. When I train everything else disappears as I focus at the task at hand. It is the same when I garden. I drop everything and focus at the task at hand.

Now I'm in a strategy battle against worms, moths, and weeds. I could use pesticide on the plants and weed killers, but it goes against my martial arts mindset of things flowing naturally. So if I want to stop the pests and the weeds then I need to figure a way to make that process flow naturally.

If I were to compare martial arts and gardening it would be along these lines:
Nature is the technique and I'm trying to figure out how to work it, and not force it as I think it should work.
 
OP
Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,874
Reaction score
3,109
Location
Michigan
You and I must be brothers in another life lol. I grow the same things except the corn. I started 5 years ago and it started as something small and then just turned into something that I just do now. I get more enjoyment out of it than I thought I would.

I don't know if I like it because I just like it, or if I like it because it balances my martial arts mindset. It's definitely a focus activity for me. Sort of like Martial Arts training. When I train everything else disappears as I focus at the task at hand. It is the same when I garden. I drop everything and focus at the task at hand.

Now I'm in a strategy battle against worms, moths, and weeds. I could use pesticide on the plants and weed killers, but it goes against my martial arts mindset of things flowing naturally. So if I want to stop the pests and the weeds then I need to figure a way to make that process flow naturally.

If I were to compare martial arts and gardening it would be along these lines:
Nature is the technique and I'm trying to figure out how to work it, and not force it as I think it should work.

Very cool. FYI the corn is Indian corn for fall decorations and feeding the local critters. Just thought it would be fun.
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
10,782
Reaction score
3,705
Very cool. FYI the corn is Indian corn for fall decorations and feeding the local critters. Just thought it would be fun.
The birds raided my sunflower plants this year.
This bird and it's partner have been working the plants over. They either aren't afraid of me or they can't see because they often land close by me. Maybe someone has fed them in the past. First time they have ever been in my yard. My wife and were always worried that the seeds would cause a rodent problem, but this bird leaves nothing behind.
579d276311b6a.image.jpg
 
OP
Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,874
Reaction score
3,109
Location
Michigan
Did you plant the sunflowers between the corn? The two plants help each other with bugs.

They are in among each other in some parts of the gardens, close but not intermingled in others.
 

dvcochran

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
6,959
Reaction score
2,253
Location
Southeast U.S.
They are in among each other in some parts of the gardens, close but not intermingled in others.
I know Hosta's are very invasive and propagate aggressively. How do you control the spreading?

We do not do a lot of tillage, (<100 acres) we rotate and do cover crops. I love learning how to supplement and strengthen the ground by using the right cover crop after harvest. We will harvest early corn very soon and then we will plant vetch, timothy, and millet as a cover and stockpile for the winter.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
11,743
Reaction score
8,390
Location
Maui
And the fruits of your labor.....Picking and eating things right from your garden is an experience I hope everyone gets to enjoy at some point in life.
 
OP
Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,874
Reaction score
3,109
Location
Michigan
I know Hosta's are very invasive and propagate aggressively. How do you control the spreading?

So far, it hasn't been an issue. If it gets to be one, I would presume my shovel will serve.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
11,743
Reaction score
8,390
Location
Maui
One of the problems with having a garden every year is the critters that eat your garden come back every year. My buddy, who loves his garden, and it is a beaut, has to ward off deer, racoon, groundhog etc.

Now he considers them "associated proteins" and acts accordingly.
 

dvcochran

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
6,959
Reaction score
2,253
Location
Southeast U.S.
One of the problems with having a garden every year is the critters that eat your garden come back every year. My buddy, who loves his garden, and it is a beaut, has to ward off deer, racoon, groundhog etc.

Now he considers them "associated proteins" and acts accordingly.
I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen this. Running a strand of the cheapest fence you can run and decorating it with lots of plastic grocery bags keeps the critters away surprisingly well. The deer anyway. You can run plastic step in post and electric wire for about $20/100'.
 
OP
Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,874
Reaction score
3,109
Location
Michigan
One of the problems with having a garden every year is the critters that eat your garden come back every year. My buddy, who loves his garden, and it is a beaut, has to ward off deer, racoon, groundhog etc.

Now he considers them "associated proteins" and acts accordingly.

I haven't experienced too much trouble thus far.
 

pdg

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
3,568
Reaction score
1,032
Now I'm in a strategy battle against worms, moths, and weeds. I could use pesticide on the plants and weed killers, but it goes against my martial arts mindset of things flowing naturally. So if I want to stop the pests and the weeds then I need to figure a way to make that process flow naturally.

The problem I see with pesticides and herbicides is that they don't only target the 'bad' things...

Once you start using them it's an ongoing cycle of increasing reliance.

Take pesticides - they kill off (if you're lucky, most of) the pests. But a lot will get eaten by their natural predators and poison them too. The predators that are left find their food source depleted so move on. Then when the pests return, as they always do, they have free reign to invade unchecked - the predators always lag significantly in their return - so you have to treat again. And again. And again.

Most indigenous weeds can be controlled to acceptable levels by targeted manual weeding and/or competition from more desirable species of plants - but weedkiller decimates the balance and it's always the unwanted that return first and grow the quickest.

And then you have the not inconsiderable possibility that your intended food is going to be laced with the chemicals you've applied to protect them...
 

pdg

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
3,568
Reaction score
1,032
Running a strand of the cheapest fence you can run and decorating it with lots of plastic grocery bags

Thanks to a recent ruling over here (intended to reduce the amount of plastic waste) the bags would cost way more than the fencing...

Old CDs strung up work quite well though ;)
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
10,782
Reaction score
3,705
manual weeding and/or competition from more desirable species of plants
This is the approach that I'm taking. Manual weeding is just exercise to me. I think my banana tree has taken out a lot of them within a 2ft - 3ft foot radius around the base. It's just dirt. But the weeds are really bad out side of that range. I'll be buying some vinegar this weekend to deal with those. They'll be dead before the end of the day. From there I'll just dig up the rest.

And then you have the not inconsiderable possibility that your intended food is going to be laced with the chemicals you've applied to protect them
Yep, that's a guarantee. I can't remember the name of the company but they are a well known brand. Turns out that the chemicals in their weed killer doesn't degrade as they stated, It actually stays in the soil for a year after application longer if a person puts more than one application.

I've been thinking about just covering the ground with a weed control cover and then build a raised garden on top of that. Still trying to work that out since there are rose bushes in the area.
 

dvcochran

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
6,959
Reaction score
2,253
Location
Southeast U.S.
DeWitt makes a very good ground cover mat. It is used a lot around here for livestock at automatic water sources. The hooves do a pretty good job of keeping growth away but every couple of years we move the waters and remediate the soil and cover back with gravel. I imagine in areas that do not have hoof traffic the mat would be washed in with soil and seed & weeds quicker.
 

Gweilo

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
1,141
Reaction score
330
Well, well, I thought it was just me, the growing, the wildlife, the creating. In fact I am a Horticulturalist by trade, and own and run a plant nursery here in the UK. I enjoy spending hours deadheading, pruning, or even creating cutting raised plants, which we produce in the region of 250,000 plants a year, as well as my own veg plot, it's good to hear others get similar pleasure.
 

Latest Discussions

Top