Cultivate abundance in 2021

Cultivating Abundance in 2021 – Lessons Learned from 2020

2020 was a hard year, but by building on the lessons learned, you can cultivate even more abundance in 2021. And by focusing on cultivating abundance for people, plants and wildlife, you can improve your overall resiliency to future shocks. Let’s dive into these lessons so we can start cultivating abundance in 2021.


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There are a lot of lessons we could take away from 2020. But in terms of helping each of us cultivate abundance in 2021, there were 3 lessons that stood out to me.

  1. Don’t wait till the last minute to get your seeds, plants, and supplies for your projects.
  2. Take time for mental health—connect with the natural world around you.
  3. Focus on creating resilient landscapes in 2021 that can weather shocks such as COVID-19 and climate change.

2020 was a hard year, but 2021 can be a year filled with abundance despite the ongoing challenges we all face.

Let’s dive into these 3 lessons from 2020, and then take a look at how we can use them to truly cultivate abundance in 2021.

And a little sneak-peak—one way to cultivate abundance in 2021 is to plant more perennial foods. This will help you create a resilient food system that not only supports you and your family, but also helps to heal the living world around us. And to help you get going, here’s a free guide all about how to get started with perennial foods.

3 Lessons Learned in 2020

You can cultivate abundance in 2021

One lesson learned in 2020 is to focus on creating resilient landscapes like this food forest. This food forest provided an abundance of food without any need for watering or fertilizer.

Connecting with nature and working to heal the natural world helped a lot of us move forward through 2020. But doing this wasn’t always easy, and there were certainly new challenges. Let’s look at 3 lessons we’ve learned in 2020.

The first lesson learned in 2020 was that seeds, plants and even other supplies might be in short supply.

There were a lot of people in 2020 that wanted to start or expand their gardens, and many nurseries ran out of plants and seeds.

And of course, many nurseries were short-staffed due to COVID-19, which only exacerbated the problem.

So don’t wait till the last moment to get your seeds and plants. As soon as you know what you want to grow in 2021 make sure to put your orders in.

And it wasn’t just plants—general supplies also became harder to find, and not just the ones in the stores.

I often collect cardboard boxes to use for sheet-mulch to help prepare new areas for plantings. But with many businesses being shut down due to COVID-19, it became harder to find good cardboard boxes.

As you move forward in 2021, make sure to plan a head, and don’t wait till the last minute to get the supplies you need for your projects. With COVID-19 still spreading, there will likely continue to be shortages of plants, seeds and supplies in 2021.

Another lesson learned in 2020 was to give time for mental health. It’s vital for each of us to take time to enjoy the abundance that we are creating. Not just the food, but the plants and wildlife.

Take time to go for walks on your property, or in nearby natural areas if you have access to them. I’ve found that if I’m always working when out on my property, I don’t get the same benefits as when I take a moment to just sit or walk and enjoy the natural world around me.

And leave the phone inside.

Finally, the 3rd lesson learned in 2020 is the importance of creating resilient landscapes that can support people, plants and wildlife.

A resilient landscape can handle shocks without breaking, and it isn’t reliant on regular inputs.

Many farms saw great disruptions due to COVID-19, but the same thing can happen to your gardens if you rely on regular inputs and have to re-plant every year.

But when you plant perennial foods, build healthy soil, work with wildlife, work with native plants and work with your land, you create a system that is very resilient and will stay productive even if you’re not around to manage it.

One simple way to do this is to switch more of your food-growing from annual garden plants to perennial food systems consisting of fruit and nut trees, berries and perennial vegetables.

Think about all those old fruit trees scattered around on properties that used to be homesteads or farms. Despite not being managed, they still produce mountains of fruit year after year.

I remember coming across an old homestead that hadn’t been managed for years, but it still had grapes, plums, pears, apples, and even some asparagus and onions that had stuck around. So much abundance despite no one managing it.

You can do the same on your own property. And with a little care, it will thrive and provide abundance for people, plants and wildlife for years to come.

Unfortunately, a lot of new gardeners in my area had the opposite experience this year. We had a strange weather year, with a hot, dry spring when we needed the moisture, and an eerily cool summer when we needed the warmth.

Many annual plants struggled, leaving lots of new gardeners feeling disillusioned, and even many seasoned gardeners were shaking their heads.

Yet despite the strange weather, our perennial plants generally continued to grow and thrive. With a “new normal” of strange weather patterns along with the supply problems of COVID-19, perennials outshine the annuals even more.

So a big lesson from 2020 is the need to focus on creating resilient systems that can withstand shocks like COVID-19 and the weather upheavals that will continue to happen in a warming world.

Summary: Lessons Learned in 2020:

3 lessons learned in 2020 to help you cultivate abundance in 2021

  1. Don’t wait till the last minute to get your seeds/plants and supplies for your projects.
  2. Take time for mental health—connect with the natural world around you.
  3. Focus on creating resilient landscapes in 2021 that can weather shocks such as COVID-19 and climate change.

Cultivating Abundance in 2021

Woodland sorrels are a great native perennial vegetable

Planting perennial vegetables and native plants can help you cultivate abundance in 2021. These are a bundle of native perennial vegetables (woodland sorrel) that I planted in the fall of 2020.

So how do you move forward towards cultivating abundance in 2021? The first thing is to recognize that there will be more disruptions in 2021. COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, and it will be a while before the vaccines help us manage it.

But there are ways to weather these challenges—and any future ones that may show up.

The first is to plant more perennial foods instead of annuals.

Perennial plants, once established, are far more resilient than annual crops. And they can be productive year after year with relatively little care. Here are some blog posts to help you get started:

  1. Plant Once with Perennial Vegetables
  2. 3 Steps to Start a Fruit Tree Guild
  3. What is a Food Forest? (And How to Get Started)

Every perennial vegetable, fruit tree or berry is an investment in a resilient landscape that generates abundance for people, plants and wildlife.

Also, take some time to help support the wildlife that call your property home. From supporting songbirds to setting up habitat features, these steps can help ensure 2021 is truly a year of abundance for all who share your piece of earth.

You could even create a mini-meadow to welcome flowers and the beneficial critters that rely on them.

And if you haven’t yet, take some time to set up some nature trails and sit spots on your property. These will give you the space to easily get out and connect with your property and with the living world around you.

But the main thing to cultivate abundance in 2021 is to take time for yourself and your family or the other people in your life. It’s okay to take a moment to breathe and recharge.

And then, when you’re ready, you can move forward to an abundant future in 2021 and beyond.

What lessons did you learn in 2020 and how are you going to cultivate abundance in 2021? Let us know in the comments.

And I wish you all an abundant and healthy 2021.

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Daron is a restoration ecologist, lifelong gardener, and founder of Growing with Nature. He created this site to help people enjoy wildlife, grow food, and help heal our living world. He has managed the restoration program for a local non-profit, and he’s applying principles of restoration and permaculture to transform his property in western Washington to forests, wetlands, hedgerows, food forests, and permaculture gardens. He holds a Masters in Environmental Studies and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Water Resources. He loves sharing the joy of growing food with his two beautiful children.

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