Help Seeds Grow—in Your Garden and Your Life

Life lessons, straight from your garden

By SHARE

Once you start gardening, it won't take long for you to see everything that happens in your garden as a lesson for life. As an entrepreneur, seed-sowing particularly hits home for me. As with each new business venture, I try to give every seed the best conditions, use the highest-quality supplies, and provide it with proper care. I pay attention to what happens, measure my results, and learn from each experience to continually improve my outcomes.

Through the years, I've discovered some ways to help seeds grow, both in the garden and in life. Here are some tips:

1. Pick the right time. The ideal time for planting fall seeds depends on the crop choice and your specific climate. Most seed packages recommend when to plant specific seeds in relation to your area's first frost date; but with weather fluctuating so much lately, you may want to consider soil temperature instead. You can find charts online that let you know the optimal soil temperature for maximum seed germination for a wide range of crops. A simple soil thermometer can tell you the exact soil temperature in your garden so you can ensure your timing is perfect. Doesn't this sound a little like taking the temperature of your target market through data analysis and then choosing the optimal time for new product releases or other business decisions? Isn't it like gauging the receptiveness of your boss or investors to know when to ask for something?

2. Clear and prepare a space. This may seem obvious, but if you want to plant fall seeds, you need to make room for them and prepare some space. That means removing summer plants that are done for the season, loosening up the soil a bit, and adding some compost and organic fertilizer to the cleared space. Why not use this same principle at work when you are starting on a new project? Before digging into something new, take the time to file away old projects, organize your workspace, nourish yourself with some healthy food (fresh from your garden), and even loosen up your muscles a bit by doing some quick stretches or a moving meditation.

3. Plant and water. The general rule of thumb for seed planting is to plant each seed as deeply as the seed is big. Tiny seeds like lettuce seeds can just be scattered on top of the soil (or gently raked in). Seeds need to stay moist until they germinate, which usually takes about seven to 10 days, so plan on watering them daily. You can do this by hand or with a soaker hose or another irrigation method on a timer if you travel or have an erratic schedule. New projects at work usually need some extra daily attention until they get off the ground as well, and you will most likely find that the bigger the project, the deeper your involvement. Be sure to clear some time on your calendar to give your "seedling" projects the appropriate amount of care and attention they need.

Pick the right time to plant for new growth in both your garden and your life, clear and prepare a space to plant seeds of success, and give your seedling ample attention to reap the rewards of what you've sown.

Tap in next week and I'll share some tips for passing gardening know-how to the next generation.

Hungry for more? Write to eatandrun@usnews.com with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Daron Joffe is a 30-something eco-entrepreneur who lives to make a difference in the world one homegrown organic fruit and vegetable at a time. Known as "Farmer D," Joffe has grown food for celebrities, private communities, and elementary schools in his "town-by-town mission to re-energize the food culture." His products are sold at select Whole Foods and Williams-Sonoma stores. Born in South Africa and based in Atlanta, Farmer D is online at www.farmerD.com.