With the first bite of the spading fork, I was surprised anew by the rich, dark soil.
A dozen years ago, it was little more than sand. With the added challenges of Colorado's dry climate and short growing season, I wondered if gardening would be a waste of time.
For some crops, it was. I discovered that with the cool nights at our 6,800-foot elevation, I could forget about getting ripe tomatoes. But potatoes and carrots? Wow!
Still, not at first. Success came only after I'd spent a few seasons improving the soil. Each fall I'd use a mulching mower to shred our crop of aspen leaves, spread them over the garden, and dig them in.
Year by year, the ground became more fertile. And the crops grew more fruitful.
But it's never easy. Before I plant, I'll need to turn over the ground a few more times, clear some sticks, roots, and old stalks, and smooth the surface. I'll need to decide what seeds to buy and actually plant them. Then comes a season of waiting, watering, and weeding.
Only then, if all the conditions prove right, comes a harvest.
Gardening reminds me of writing. Especially improving the soil. If you long for a harvest of publication, I hope you're enriching your garden plot by investing in classes, critiques, coaching, and conferences.
Compost whatever you can, like rejections or projects that cease to bloom. Take those experiences and work them into the ground of resources, skills, and experiences from which you write.
Then if you plant something, it just might grow.