I’m growing some garlic at the moment. What I didn’t realise when I put it in the ground nearly four months ago is that it can take up to nine months to get to maturity. This means the plot sits there for a long time not doing anything. A little bit like most of my manuscripts.
Today I decided to tackle the most recent weed infestation and it got me thinking about how much weeding is like editing. You have the ‘good’ bits, which you know are good, and you know you need to pull out the ‘bad’ bits to give the good bits the best chance they can get, but it is not as easy as it sounds.
For starters the bad bits have big root systems, and they can rip out the good bits if you pull them out without enough consideration and care. Also, especially when you start from seed, sometimes it is not easy to recognise which are the desired ‘plants’ and which are the ‘weeds’ when they first burst through the soil. You might think you are giving love and sunlight to your garlic, but it actually turns out to be onion weed.
Finally, when you have no idea, and you are doing all this for the first time, you don’t know exactly when you should harvest your plants. Too early and they will be tasteless and mediocre, too late and they will be woody and overburdened with pulp.
I guess that is why it is so important to make sure you seek advice from a gardener who has been there before, someone who has made all those same planting mistakes before you. It is always wise to seek some guidance and can save you from a ruined crop.
I really miss my writers group 🙁