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  • Writer's pictureVal Agnew

Working on Wednesday: The Vegetables of My Labor

Last year I started gardening. They put in some garden boxes next to our house and there was one available. So I went to the store and bought a bunch of tiny starter plants. I had no idea what I was doing. No idea how far apart to put the plants. No clue what plants do well in what environment. Guessing at how and when to water them. I knew nothing. But I just put them in the ground and kept an eye on them.

The first year I made a lot of mistakes. I planted things too close together. I didn't realize that mint is a weed and would take over the entire box. No one told me that strawberry plants don't produce berries during the first year. I didn't properly trim the tomato plants so they underproduced. The lettuce was allowed to grow bitter because I incorrectly harvested it.

The second year, I learned from my mistakes (mostly). We had strawberries and tomatoes and so many cucumbers we had to pickle them three different ways. I've got herbs hanging all over the kitchen drying for storage.

Recently, when I get scared thinking about starting a business or risking it all to put something I wrote or created out into the world, I try to think about my garden. When I put the plants into the ground, I didn't even know what I didn't know. I made a lot of mistakes. But I learned from them and within just a year, my yield improved. Next year, I'll do even better.

There are some things I can never control. If it's too cold or too dry or we have animals or bugs there's nothing I can do. There are always going to be things outside of one's control. But I can still put the plants in the ground. I can water them and care for them and learn from the experiences I've had and with that work and some luck, I might just pull something nice out of the ground.

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