They say in Gardening, "Feed the SOIL (Not the Plant)" | Mr. Zach's Playful Learner Blog, Topic #1: Teaching from the Top-Down

Welcome to "The Playful Learner!"

For those of you who don’t already know me, my name is Zach Tolan. I’m a father, a teacher, an inventor, and a very enthusiastic learner. I’ve taught music for many years, and in that time I've specialized in growing young musicians "from seed," that is to say, being their first teacher. 

This post is just an introduction, and I titled it "Feed the Soil, Not the Plant."

(Yes, I'm proud that I grew this basil plant from seed!)

They say in gardening, “Feed the soil, not the plant.” 

See, we can't get nutrients directly into the roots of the plant... but we can put fertilizer in the root's path to ensure they absorb what they can, when they're able. Therefore, we feed the soil to feed the plant.


  • Children are the plants. They are able to grow like mighty oak trees!  
  • Their environment is the soil. They are spreading their roots out every waking moment, absorbing as much as they are able of whatever is in their path. 
  • Parents and Teachers are Gardeners. We care for the the soil and the plants. 

This blog is like a garden manual. 

I don't know what every plant in the garden is. Many seeds look the same at first... But as they grow, it gets a little easier to see what kind of fruit we might get if we keep the right stuff in the soil.

Welcome to the garden!

Playful wishes!

Mr. Zach :)


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