Day 172– 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Planning Ahead – Lessons From the Garden

Turns out – all those things I fought against when I was younger? Things like goal setting and planning? They have a purpose. Particularly developing a vision and having patience. For how I came to that realization, we go back to the garden.

At this point in the growing season, most of my plants are either in the ground or spoken for.  I have an abundance of cherry tomato plants that no one in my family wants. We still remember, not fondly, the 2 cherry tomato plants last year that were marketed by the seller as beefsteak that kept producing all through the summer. Which would have been fine if we wanted cherry tomatoes. But we didn’t.

Now, I’m looking at fall and have started putting start dates on my yearly calendar of when to plant what. And it’s become obvious that I plant in one season, grow in the next, and then eat in the one after that.

For example, because I’m testing four different varieties of cucumbers and four different varieties of green beans, if I don’t pull them up, I’ll be eating them, yes, in summer, but also mostly in fall since summer crops – tomatoes, cucumbers, and green beans – produce until the first frost which in my case is November.

The nightshade family – Tomatoes and peppers and eggplant – days to maturity run around 80 – 90 days or 3 months or a season. It’s the reason why folks get a head start on them. If I plant in the spring, then I’m harvesting in the summer, and will preserve for the fall.

We plant collards in the late summer, in cooler weather so we won’t have to deal with worms eating our produce. Days to maturity is 60 – 75 days which is about 2 – 3 months. Planting in late summer means a Fall harvest so we could put up collards for the winter holidays –Christmas, and New Year’s.

Plant in Season 1.

Harvest and Preserve in Season 2.

Enjoy Fruits of Labor in Season 3.

That’s why I’m thinking about my New Year’s Greens now. There’s really no speeding this up.

It starts with a clear vision of what I want to do with my garden. That’s something I’m refining and then putting the dates on the calendar. Since this is the first year I’m moving with a bit of intentionality, I don’t know how many sauce tomato plants I need to make a quart of tomato sauce. I don’t know how many collards I need to produce a New Year’s meal. I also don’t know if my various grow bag and 5-gallon bucket containers will work.

And I haven’t even talked about crop rotation.

It’s about collecting data, yes. It’s also about realizing that certain things can’t be sped up. In chemistry, it’s called the rate limiting step. In writing that would be writing the story. With an unlimited amount of money, I’m sure I could find an editor to bump me to the top of their queue and a cover artist and someone to format my stories so those steps wouldn’t stop me. Just like it starts with a plant – whether that’s started from seed or bought from a garden center – it all starts with writing

  1. Write
  2. Publish
  3. Tell

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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About Irette Y Patterson

Irette Y Patterson is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has been published in FIYAH, Strange Horizons, Translunar Travelers Lounge and on the website of The Saturday Evening Post. When not writing, you can find her digging around in her garden or catching the latest musical in the theater.
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