Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Help Your Garden Grow

Post by NCW Director Kerrie Flanagan

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is tomorrow and I've had green on the brain. Part of it is because of this historic anniversary, but the other part is because of my garden.

This year we are starting what we are calling our NSA or Neighborhood Supported Agriculture. My family has teamed up with another family on our cul-de-sac and together we are going to grow and tend a garden.

Our yard faces south, so a majority of the veggies will be grown in our yard. We rented a sod cutter, got rid of about a 20'x20' section of grass and are prepping it for the garden. This adds a third section to the plots we already had, plus the neighbors have a couple of small garden beds we will use as well.

We are going to grow: tomatoes, a variety of peppers, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, zucchini, squash, pumpkins, basil, lettuce, spinach, peas, green beans, carrots and cabbage.

I am really excited about this venture and will keep you posted about the progress. Right now we are starting the seeds indoors in a south facing window and helping them along with grow lights.

These baby seeds demand a lot of attention. They need to be watered everyday, kept under the lights and kept safe. This morning as I was checking on my little green infants, I thought of the similarities between tending the garden and tending our writing.

To have a successful garden we need make sure we devote some time to it everyday, nurture it, get rid of the weeds and provide it with the proper nutrients.

To be a successful writer you need to apply the same principles to your writing life.

Write Everyday
We all know the only way to get better at something is to practice. Writing is no different. The only way to improve is to write, write and write some more.

Nurture your Creativity
Join a critique group or find a writing buddy. This will give you a chance to talk about writing with others, plus it will motivate you and inspire you to keep going.

Get Rid of the Weeds
All gardens have weeds as does all writing. Nothing is perfect. All writers have to take time to go back through their work and get rid of the weeds (passives, adverbs, "thats"...)

Provide Nutrients
A garden needs nutrients to grow and establish strong roots. Writers need nutrients as well, but ours come in the form of learning more about our craft. This can be done through books, magazines, workshops and conferences.

Are you growing a garden this year?
What do you do to tend to yourself as a writer?


KC Frantzen said...

We have similar gardens though we're a little ahead and have most things already planted.

We are doing all organic too. Be sure to plant some marigolds around to lure insects away from your veggies. That helped us last year with our very first garden ever.

And be SURE to leave enough room for the zucchini. It takes OVER!

Great points and analogies. I'm finding some conundrums get sorted as I physically weed. There's just something about it!

Jenny S. said...

I also garden with a neighbor. I love having someone to share the work--and the zucchini!--with.

Last year, we tried weed block fabric to smother our weeds...wish there was something like that for my manuscript. I guess I'll have to keep plucking those weeds out the hard way :-)

Kerrie said...

KC-Thanks for the marigold tip. I am definitely going to try it. Here in Colorado its still too early to plant--we have to wait until the mid or end of May. That will give my little seedlings time to grow strong.

Jenny, Last year we tried the weed block in our garden too. We didn't think it worked real well. Good luck plucking the weeds out of your manuscript. :-)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Year before last, I tried a thick layer of cardboard in my garden to block the thistles. Those tough little beasts grew right through the cardboard, so I gave up and went after the weed patch with chemicals (I hated to do it, but I'd tried everything else). So I grew nothing there last year, and now I think I'll use raised beds. Over plywood. Surely the thistles will die before the plywood warps and rots?

Getting rid of the weeds in our writing may seem like a never-ending process, but the longer we keep at it, and the more we listen to our critique groups, the more we see our most common goofs before anyone else does. Like gardening, it's a journey...

Linda L. Henk said...

I have the cool season crops in the ground. Radishes started poking through soil a week after the seeds were planted. Yesterday, I started the process of updating my "Master Food Safety Advisor" status with the Larimer Co. Extension service. The group used to be called Master Food Preservers. Today, we're canning fruit of some sort and making jam. Have fun this summer. We can compare notes as to yields and share recipes!

Triffany said...

Beautiful post and great reminder. You're absolutely right.

Kerrie said...


I love the idea of sharing recipes and canning tips. Happy growing!

Cricket McRae said...

NSA -- what a great idea! We put in two more raised beds this spring, one for perennial veggies: asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, horseradish and artichokes.

I'm afraid most of my weeding is old-fashioned digging and pulling by hand. So is my editing. Both are time consuming and require persistence, but the results, while not perfect, are still worth it.

Hearth Cricket

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