How Vegetable Gardening Is Like Songwriting

Vegetable Gardening In Nepal
Growing food takes patience – I wonder how long this took (I believe this is Nepal)

Do you ever feel like you’ll never grow a perfect 12 brix tomato, or have much success at nutrient-dense vegetable gardening at all?

It took me a long time to get past that feeling, and sometimes I still experience it even though I’ve been at it for a long time – and I would say I’m a pretty decent vegetable gardener.

I’m halfway through reading a book about songwriting, where the author is interviewing top songwriters about their craft.

Almost all of them spend at least some of their time feeling that they aren’t good writers, even after having done it for decades and having a string of number one hits.

I think most of us worry from time to time that we won’t live up to our own or others’ expectations. If you don’t, you’re lucky. I certainly do – it’s just my personality.

One example is writing this blog. I’m not a great writer and it sure doesn’t come easy to me. In fact, I may eventually partner up on this site with someone else who’s as passionate as I am about organic gardening but who is a better writer.

But I’m not ready to do that yet, so I’m the writer for now, which is cool because it’s a good skill to work on I think. And just like writing a song, I suppose it’s not something you’re supposed to be good at without having spent time working on it.

Just like writing, vegetable gardening takes patience and practice. Some people get it faster than others, but it does take time. If this is your first year, there will be failures.

The cool thing is there will be successes, too, because if you get the basics right, plants will grow for you.

If you’ve been gardening for a long time, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that things don’t always go as planned. That’s one thing you can plan on.

I’ve been doing this for a long time, and my vegetable garden still produces the odd plant that doesn’t thrive. There are always little issues. That’s part of it.

I used to piddle around with playing music in high school. I didn’t join the band or anything, but I messed around at home.

I’ve kind of kept it up, still playing piano occasionally, but never really took much time to improve (and I don’t know why I pick up the odd book on songwriting – I guess it’s just somewhere in the back of my mind that I want to write songs).

Below is the first song with words that I ever recorded. I must have been about 15 years old. I played all the instruments.

Everything about it is wonderfully bad – out of time and out of tune – which is as it should be when you record your first song.

“Laid Back” by 15-year-old Phil

Download (Right-Click)

Back To Vegetable Gardening

It’s the same with vegetable gardening. An organic garden is a complicated ecosystem, and it takes experience to get it right. But if you take the leap, there’s a very good chance you will eat your own tomatoes this year.

They may not be 12 brix, but I bet they’ll still taste pretty darn good.


  • If you’re just starting to garden this year, don’t worry about how it will go. Just do what 15 year old Phil says and be “laid back” (little did he know that as you grow older, that laid back feeling can be a bit harder to come by sometimes, but that’s another story). Enjoy the process – you’ll have some success.
  • If you started gardening last year and things didn’t work out as you planned, keep learning and try again. You’ll get there – it just takes time.
  • If you’re an experienced gardener, you already know that the more you know, the less you know – there’s always more to learn.

Once you get there, vegetable gardening and growing food of any kind is one of the most magical, awe-inspiring pastimes ever imagined.

I hope you’ll keep in touch this year, let me know how it’s going, and maybe even send me a few photos.

Question: How long have you been gardening and what are your main concerns or thoughts as you prepare to go about it this year?



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