“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” Robert F Kennedy is credited with this profound statement;  his brother,Edward Kennedy  applied it to him at his eulogy.

Bobby says “No, I was just quoting.”

I ask “Who cares?”

This question, in a simpler form  challenges all gardeners  one way or another.


Dirt diddlers  are bombarded with do’s and don’ts by experts and  hands- in- the- dirt everyday Joe Clodhoppers.   Each  alternately snickers, or pooh-poohs, what is considered the absurdity of the other at the moment.

Hey, guys! There is value in each experience.

Benefits that can make the complicated facts of educated experts palatable to us overall wearing, dirty- nailed, barefoot dirt turners who see the practical value of our experience every day in our gardens.

Okay, so this is a little over the line, idiotic generalization.  Do you get the idea I may be a little ticked off?

Well, you are correct, let me vent for a moment; this is my experience, so I can fume if I want to!

I am a subscriber to one of the larger garden forums;  I love it.

Generally, no matter how simple the inquiry, an encouraging remark swiftly follows.   Nobody is belittled for  his inexperience, everybody is invited to speak up, if only to say, “that’s interesting”.    Readers are urged to ask “What have you done that works, here’s what I tried and it didn’t. ”

There is a valuable exchange of information.

What  really surprises  me is that many times I  correspond for a period of time with gardeners who obviously have great practical knowledge.    They know what they are talking about;  they make me feel I contribute to their experience.

What a surprise to find later, from outside sources, that these people are well educated experts in their fields;  yet, not once have I felt belittled or uneducated as we communicated.

These people represent the very best such an informal forum has to offer.

But then…….there are a few others.

I  garden using homemade self sustaining containers,  last year our  group was discussing our limited experiences.   For beginners, we had all had very good results, as we bumbled  through.

A couple guys were obviously experienced and shared their container, soil, water, and weather results.    Yep!  turns out they are professional experts.    Modestly they deny the fact.

These folks are  asking  what we think,  how we manage our containers!!

Viewing their results speaks  volumes;  yet, many times, our suggestions are  followed by comments such as “that is a fantastic idea”, “why didn’t I think of that” from our teachers.

Then one day the soil mix hit the screen!!

A newly interested container gardener asked, what seemed a simple question to me:  “Do any of you reuse your soil mix after the first crop is harvested?”

There is no request, that I discern, for an explanation, pro or con,  on the value of the practice.    Several participants answered, some did reuse the soil mix, others did not.

Just so happened,  I had used a single box for tomatoes two previous seasons; had not changed the mix even in this, the third season;  simply amended the mix.  Two lush plants  were already over my head height-wise.

Now remember the question:  “Do any of you reuse your soil mix after the first crop is harvested?”

All I said was yes I do; this is the third time

My answer was short (and I thought, sweet) “yes, I do; this is the third time, here’s what happened.” (Posted the photo shown on the right)

The response to the forum (not to me) came from someone who had not previously been involved in the discussion; it   really let me have it!!

I will paraphrase what I remember as the flame (the part in quotes are the posters description of me).

The forum was informed that my “uneducated response” showed a lack of understanding of soil structure and breakdown; that the simple fact, that it seemed to work for “her”,  could in no way be construed as proof that this was a practical experiment.

The respondent went on:  since “she has chosen to set herself up as  spokesman for the group” scientific facts on the subject should be addressed.

Geez!! I did not realize a simple  “yes, I do; this is the third time, here’s what happened” could say so much!!

My ears got red, muscles in my neck constricted, steam came from my ears!!

I wanted to say a lot, but I restricted my response (through the forum to the respondent) to the fact  I thought the question requested a simple “yes” or “no”;  so I had answered without discussing its value (or lack thereof).


Did not bother to mention, the last time I checked, I am not of the female gender!

The sad part of  this is, I am stubborn,  I am the real loser.

This person authors a very detailed technical discussion of soil properties that I found interesting and scientifically accurate;  yes, this  uneducated, wheat straw chawin’, country bumpkin does understand the contents!!

Will I continue to follow the author’s post to glean useful  information?

Never!! You have made me mad!!   So okay!    I am a bastard, get used to it!!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cathie Zeien on April 14, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    That’s too bad the incident had to happen. I am very familiar with the garden forum and there are helpful, wonderful posts from terrific people.

    I was brought up to believe that people who act arrogant or belittle others are, in fact, not very happy folks. Guess you just have to count to ten and then maybe say a little prayer that their lives improve.

    But – having said that – I’ve also experienced people who for some unknown reason just feel they have to try and put me down and try to embarrass me. Certainly aggravating and somewhat baffling!


  2. Cathie, the positive far outweighs the negative, doesn’t it? I generally can just grin and shrug this type thing off; for some reason this really burned my fanny. That I would let it cause me to react so immaturely bugs me even more!! LOL


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