First Draft

So I’m at the end of my first draft, just a few pages left.  Now that I have the whole novel nearly complete I can clearly see all the mistakes and ways to correct them.

Now, I could have stopped the first draft months ago, before finishing the last third of the novel.  I could have started the second draft when I knew the first one was a mess.  I could have saved a lot of time wrapping this up and got a head start on the next version.  A tempting proposition and hard to ignore.

Before I started gardening, I would have done just that.  I’ve got three novels that I abandoned two thirds of the way through because I decided I needed a better opening or a different POV.  But in a garden, nothing short of a catastrophic fungal infection will cause me to abandon a planting, and even then I’ll hold on until the bitter end.

Take my salad tower for instance:

salad tower 1

Salad tower May 2013, pretty ain’t it.

This was my first attempt at vertical growing.  A simple tower make of copper pipes with canvas shoe trees hanging off it.  With 24 pouches per tree, this tower can grow 96 separate plants.  Oh, how I had visions of harvesting fresh leaf lettuce and baby spinach every day.  But that didn’t work out like I expected.

By the end of July, with nearly daily downpours the canvas is spotted with mold on the front and back.  I have gotten a few leaves of baby spinach and leaf lettuce, but only enough for omelets or sandwiches.

salad tower 2

Salad Tower  July 2013

A lot went wrong with this tower.  Hot and wet weather combined with canvas pouches made a perfect environment for mold.  Trying to start from seed in the pouches was an act of futility, nothing germinated except for the black beans and the chickpeas that grow but haven’t produced.

Next year we will try felt pouches or even woven polyester.  Maybe I’ll replace the soil with a growth medium and install a watering system.  Probably both.  But for now, we will see what the fall will produce.  Who knows, it might dry out and we’ll get a huge harvest off it.  There is no way of knowing how things will turn out for this project except to see it until the end.

I never really expected this to turn out perfect the first year out, just as I never expected my current novel to be a perfect work right off the bat.  Both require a lot of work, patience and experimentation for any real fruit to develop.  And unless I continue to water and care for the tower, just like I worry away at my novel, I’ll never get a second try until I complete the first draft.

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