The Fable of Green Thumb

Everyone can grow their own food, even you!  If you have ever tried and failed, we are here to encourage you to TRY AGAIN!  We have even written our very own gardening fable to help you see how ridiculous it is to believe that the ability to garden is something a person is born with.

Everyone can grow their own food, even you! This gardening fable is a lesson in gardening for those of you who have believed the folklore of green thumb.


Everyone can grow their own food, even you! This gardening fable is a lesson in gardening for those of you who have believed the folklore of green thumb. Thumb is a character of English folklore.  Here at Grounded & Surrounded, we believe that the concept of a GREEN THUMB, or natural talent for growing things, should also be placed in the category of folklore.

 If you believe that a person is born with the ability (or lack of ability) to grow things, then your very first experiences with gardening will determine for you which kind of person you are.

Unfortunately, more often than not, our first attempts at anything result in failure.   This is why the majority of people we talk with believe that they do not have a green thumb and therefore will never be good at gardening.  What a LIE!

Fables are short stories written for the sole purpose of teaching a lesson.  They can be entertaining and enlightening, but they serve a larger purpose.  They often teach about morals or share a truth in a unique and creative way.

We decided to write a gardening fable for you today, and entitled it “The Fable of Green Thumb.”  ENJOY!

Everyone can grow their own food, even you! This gardening fable is a lesson in gardening for those of you who have believed the folklore of green thumb.

A young mother sat in her home one night, scanning facebook by the fireside, while her husband sat by her side playing angry bird on his ipad. ‘How lovely, dear husband, would it be if I could grow beautiful vegetables in a vast garden just like my many friends who have been blessed with green thumbs?’

‘What you say is very true,’ said the husband, sighing, flinging birds at pigs all the while, ‘how happy should I be if I could grow but one cabbage!  It would not matter to me if it were the largest cabbage in the land, or no bigger than the size of these tiny birds on my screen. I should be very happy and make the finest coleslaw with it.’

Now – odd as you may think – this young couple’s wish was not fulfilled in the very way they had wished it.  For, one is not born with a green thumb, nor can they wish it into existence. 

But only through hard work and patience will your garden grow, and you will love it all the more for the sacrifices you must make to see it thrive.  And you will know, deep in your heart, it was not the color of your thumb that determined your fate, but rather your aching back and dirt stained hands.

Gardening is a skill to be developed, not a gift to be discovered.  You will likely have many failures until you learn to love your plants and care for them consistently. 

Many people will look at your gardening successes and give credit to some unseen natural gift you must have, but every good gardener knows that their success comes from hard work; nothing more, nothing less. 

You can’t wish a healthy vegetable or flower garden into existence.  Plants are not at all mysterious.  They simply need consistent care and attention. 

Anybody can learn to grow a garden, even you!  So let us bury the fabled Green Thumb once and for all, and begin the hard work of learning how to be successful gardeners.

Everyone can grow their own food, even you! This gardening fable is a lesson in gardening for those of you who have believed the folklore of green thumb.


The moral of this story is that anybody can grow their own food, so long as they are willing to put in the hard work it takes to develop a new skill.  We know it is all a bit silly, but the lesson hits very closely to home for us.

Both Sammi and I used to think we were no good at gardening; that we were born without a green thumb.  We tried and failed, and quite honestly, we just accepted the fact that we weren’t born with the gardening gene.

But then we started learning about health, and the importance of consuming high-quality food. Suddenly we HAD to find a way to AFFORD more natural and organic food.  The NEED to grow our own food outweighed the FEAR of failure. 

So we tried again!  We studied, researched, planned, prepped, and gardened our little hearts out.  And we grew some AWESOME cabbage, much larger than we ever expected!


Everyone can grow their own food, even you! This gardening fable is a lesson in gardening for those of you who have believed the folklore of green thumb. | Grounded and Surrounded


We LEARNED what we needed to know to be successful, and we KNOW you can do the same! Here are our Top 5 Resources for a Beginning Gardener (some links are affiliate links, click here to read our full disclosure):

1. Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces

2. Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs

3. Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long, 2nd Edition

4. The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control

5. Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry

Have your previous attempts at gardening been a success or a failure?  Did you give up or keep trying until you got it right?

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This article has been shared at many of our favorite Healthy Living Linkups.

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  1. I have been gardening for years and years. This year many of my plants are dying after just starting to grow. I don’t know what is wrong, but I am not giving up. I did use some new composted cow manure from Rural King this year. Who knows??? My advice to the beginner, don’t give up. Experienced gardeners have problems from time to time. Don’t let your bad experiences stop you from continuing to try.

  2. These are some great gardening resources! Thanks for sharing with the Literacy Musing Mondays Link-up!

  3. Dearest Sarah,

    I know you have invested many hours of hard work behind this scenes to make this series possible, and I just want to say THANK YOU! I know how much I am looking forward to learning from you, and I am sure there are many others who will benefit from your wisdom and love as well. Again, thank you!

    I have had a small garden for eight years, but it has always been hit or miss as to how much harvest I gleaned. My biggest obstacle is the soil in which I plant. I have attempted to improve the soil several times, yet it still seems to be less than productive.

    I had pretty much decided to give up gardening this summer, but after reading your post here, I think I am going to try it again!

    • Oh, Leigh, you bless my heart! I just love gardening and I can tell you that no matter you soil conditions…gardening is hit and miss. We had clay soil at our old house and it was such a challenge. Have you ever considered raised beds? I know it’s a bit of work and expense to put them in, but my friends with poor soil swear by them. I hope the free gardening e-course is a blessing to you, and please keep me posted on your gardening adventure.

  4. This is a great fable, and it’s true, you don’t need to have a green thumb to make your garden grow.

  5. Perfect! I’ve scheduled this on my facebook page for a few weeks from now. I know my readers will love it!

  6. I love the creativity of this! I’ll be sharing on my blog’s Facebook page later today.

  7. Great post and fable! You are so right, there is no need for a green thumb. But there are some qualities that are needed to be a successful gardener. Surprisingly none of them are green. Those are consistency, care, and courage to try again.

  8. I agree! Most of the time I fail the first time I try to grow something new, but I get it eventually. Great post!

    Thanks again for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. Please stop by and link up again this week!


  9. This is very encouraging. When I was a teenager, my Grandmother gave me an Aloe Vera plant and I killed it. Probably from over watering it. My Grandmother said it was one of the easiest things to grow. I have since then killed more plants, but I have also been successful in growing some. It is hard because we are in full shade here being surrounded by trees so I can only grown things that are shade hardy. Thank you for this post, I am always saying how I have a brown thumb! This post encourages me to remind myself I just have some work to do and things to learn!

  10. Sarah, so true and what a clever way to make the point! I think it helps, too, if newbies start out with the tried-and-true easy-to-grow crops like radishes and zucchini.

  11. This was SOOOOOOO encouraging! It’s true that I just wish I could look at something and it was done. I always thought that I just didn’t have the green thumb. But I needed to hear that I need to put in the hard work required for learning a new skill as gardening IS a new skill to me. 😀 Thank you so much for the encouragement!!! 😀

    • Paula, I think you and I were meant to be friends! You can encourage me as I learn how to be a better servant leader and godly mother to my children….and I can TEACH YOU HOW TO GARDEN! Deal?!?

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