You Reap What You Sow

I tended to our neglected backyard this weekend. I pulled weeds and swept the sidewalks. I cleaned up the raised bed where the peas, spinach and lettuce had run their course in the spring and were now sprawled about in a bolted and wilted mess. And I finally planted the tomato, bean and pepper starts I bought back in May.

I worked until my back needed a rest, but of course there is still more to do. Which is fine – part of my summer schedule/ritual is spending some of each morning out in the garden while it is still cool. It’s a nice way to start the day.

It occurred to me while I was working that last week’s infrastructure metaphor was a bit, well, industrial; that perhaps tending a garden was a more apt parallel for building a sustainable business. Because I couldn’t help but notice that I had gotten out of my garden exactly what I had put into it. I was reaping exactly what I had sown. I had watered the yet-to-be-planted starts, so they had survived seven weeks in their tiny pots, but they were pretty spindly. I hadn’t properly trellised the peas, so they didn’t produce many pods – and so forth.

Considering how little time I’ve spent in the garden in the last two months, I was actually surprised to see how well many of the plants were doing. But I also know that if I had planted, weeded, trellised, watered, amended and fertilized with more regularity everything would be thriving instead of surviving.

Last year, I finally got it through my head that regular watering would really improve things (duh). So last summer turned out rather more lush that previous years thanks to installing soaker hoses that run on a timer. Now that I have the watering stuff figured out, this year I am committed to regular fertilizing – preferably in the form of compost, but I have a box and a bottle, too. What does every successful gardener credit? Their soil. You gotta have good soil. Sufficient sunlight, water, plant selection and placement, weeding, pruning – these things are important, but all are a distant second to the quality of the soil.

So here we are back at preparation and maintenance. Whether it’s filling potholes or turning compost into your flower beds – they are the unavoidable elements of success, the essentials of a bountiful harvest.

* * * * * * * * * *

What in your business needs to be planted, weeded, trellised, pruned, watered, amended or fertilized in order for you to reap a bountiful harvest? Do your endeavors have sufficient sunlight? Are your projects the right variety for your zone? Do you tend to their health regularly or only when they wilt or show signs of pests or disease? Do you need to learn more about growing a business to be successful?

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