Organizing the Impossible

I have a friend who is stubborn. He thinks organizing isn’t worth it. He agrees with some of the reasons organizing is good, but he mostly thinks that organizing is a waste of time. For him it isn’t the external mess that is the problem, it is the internal mess. And therefore, even if he organized something perfectly, it would still not keep him from constantly thinking about it (so he thinks).

Despite this belief, he was willing to have me help manage his first year start-up garden.

Bring in the organizer!

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First, I had him walk me around the garden to tell me what had been planted already and what was ready to harvest. I took notes on everything he told me and I sketched a map. I put sections where it seemed appropriate, marked the beds with letters, and highlighted the paths. I could already sense at this point that the very act of sharing and communicating what was happening in the garden was therapeutic for my friend. 

Second, I got on the computer and made a digital map in InDesign. I labeled areas and plots with colors, and marked where plants were planted their matching color. I also gave space at the bottom of the page for my friend to write in what he planned to plant and what he planned to harvest.

Third. He wanted to put sprinklers in to make watering the garden a hell of alot easier. So after I printed the map (which only took about 20 minutes to make) we used a pencil to draw in where the sprinklers could go. This needed a bit of planning because there was only so many waterlines and sprinklers available. The next day, when he installed the system, section one turned out a little differently than we had planned, but the majority followed the map.

Here, we are facing west. The lettuce in section 4 is just about done with its season.

Here, we are facing west. The lettuce in section 4 is just about done with its season.

And guess what? It worked. He agreed that the plan on paper was a big help. It allowed him to visually see the entire schedule of planting and harvesting alongside a small map. Of course, he might think about the garden still, but I’m pretty sure having it organized on paper relieves him some stress. 

My friend was wise enough to know that a map and a schedule was important for the garden. He made organizing possible.

It was a simple project that took less than an hour to complete. Our brains are better equipped for understanding 5 sections with 5 parts each, rather than 25 individual parts. When it comes to gardening, the schedule of planting and harvesting can become complex before you know it. Writing down the plan makes everything easier.

The impossible factor is our unwillingness to do it or our lack of interest. If we think something is worthless before we try it, then it will stay worthless in our eyes. Fortunately, in this case, my friend was wise enough to know that a map and a schedule was important for the garden and didn't shut the idea down completely. He made organizing possible.

Facing East

Facing East

Now, each month, he can send me the changes so that I can type them in to the map on InDesign and print the updated version. And we can enjoy awesome homegrown veggies without having to think about it as much.

***Share your gardening experiences in the comments below.***