Making ideas reality is a lot like growing tomatoes. Part 2- The Harvest

In Part 1 I shared that after a particularly abundant season in the patch I had come to the conclusion that growing tomatoes had a lot in common with making ideas reality.

It’s not so crazy.

The resilience, patience and preparation needed for a good harvest is also needed to successfully cultivate, and ultimately harvest the fruit from your ideas.

Sometimes you head out into the garden and all you see is potential. Healthy plants thriving and throwing off their first blossoms. Early season varieties almost ready to pick. Bees happily pollinating and ladybirds keeping the pests at bay. Things are progressing well. All that needs to be done is to continue to feed and water, to nurture and then to feast.

But if you’ve been absent, more often than not, you head out into the garden and there’s an abundance of weeds. The tomatoes are competing for nutrients, light, some are wilted through lack of watering. Or there’s a pest invasion of some sort, just when you’re about to pick them with the bad kind of bugs sucking at the roots, laying eggs on the leaves or running into the patch the middle of the night and stealing most of your crop. (curse you possums)

Like ideas, tomatoes don’t thrive on neglect and they are best kept fresh through consistent visits and good collaborators.

Even your carefully nurtured, and highly supported crop will have competition. Somebody next door may have even won prizes for their previous crops.

Sometimes there’s people who have an idea really similar to yours, people who had the had the idea first, or those who have rushed to get it out in the marketplace before you. Resist trying to bring them down, or give up, good ideas often win out in the end, and perhaps there’s enough fruit for everyone?

Like ideas that have been pushed, prodded, tested and sometimes attacked, a good strong crop of tomatoes is often the way it is because it’s been challenged in the early stages of development. Like tested ideas that have adapted and come out stronger.

By next season you will have learnt far more than you did the first time you planned a tomato crop. You might even have the confidence to plant a new variety or sew an additional bed!

When it comes to telling the story of the journey of your crop of tomatoes there will be those that want to know the entire story from seed to the juicy tomato exploding in their mouth. They’ll want to know about the collaborators, the chickens, the farm dog, the type of staking, the brand of garden hoe and the fertiliser used.

Some won’t give a shit about any of that stuff and they’ll just want to taste it.

Be mindful of your audience when sharing the fruits of your ideas, and have the intelligence to adapt or else risk the curse of boredom. Marketing is important.

Some times (like I did this year) you’ll have such an enormous harvest that you’ll need collaborators. The best collaborators are the ones that harvest your fruit and return it to you in the form of delicious pickles, sauce and chutney, bringing out the flavour of the fruit in ways you never thought possible. Acknowledging the source of their inspiration and extending the harvest for months to come.

See, ideas and gardening have a lot in common….

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