Nothing beats hands-on learning, especially in the garden.
I'm an avid researcher and I like to think that I can learn a lot about plants and how to grow them by reading a million blog posts from homesteaders, a couple articles by professionals and watching a Youtube video or two.
Also, as a writer, I'd like to think that the written word has the power to teach me what I need to know.
But when it comes to gardening, there's just nothing quite like seeing and experiencing things first-hand and by just getting in there and doing.
Case in point, I planted blackberries a few years ago, a semi-upright variety and I have read and researched everything out there on how to properly prune the vines. And it completely stressed me out because everyone threw terms out there like "second year" canes and fruiting canes and having never seen the cycles for myself, I had no idea what I was supposed to prune and what I was supposed to leave behind.
Not knowing what to cut and what to leave, I just left everything.
This year, my vines produced fruit amazingly well.
And miracle of miracles, new canes emerged! Almost as if overnight these massive upright canes presented themselves just in front of the older canes that were currently bearing fruit.
And that's when all those hours of reading and watching videos and trying to figure out what the heck everyone was talking about suddenly made sense!
Of course, I still think books are great, blogs are wonderful (can anyone doubt it?), and magazines are fabulous! But nothing compares to real-world application!
If you're like me and you like to research and know a little of what you're getting into before you dive right in, that's great ... I highly encourage you to continue! But at some point, dive in there. Make mistakes. Learn from nature. Get your hands dirty. Make those cuts, don't make those cuts, learn from the consequences. Gardening is hands on and you'll never learn more than you will through experience.