the joy of lists

The Joy of Lists

The sun has come out and all of a sudden, there is a lot to do.

There is nothing to prepare for you for the busyness of April. I’ve kept a diary of seeds that need sowing, but now there is work to do on top of the sowing. They’re other jobs that need doing, and it doesn’t matter how organised or disciplined I have tried to be, they are always there.

Nice Jobs
However, these jobs aren’t horrible big ones. I’ve not got to dig over a whole bed or clear out a weed-infested corner. They’re little jobs that crop up as I’m doing other little jobs, like noticing the strawberry bed needs weeding whilst sowing a row of beetroots, which is what happened to me this week.

I’ve got to make some more potting compost, move my crowded thyme, fennel and chive; build another wigwam and pot up errant mint, amongst other things.

Despite these mostly being ‘nice’ jobs, the problem is fitting them all in. I guess a football analogy would be when a team is so blessed with good players, they can’t play them all on the same Saturday. Or something.

Anyway, there is only one thing for it: the time has come to compile a list.

There is No List Like a Gardening List
Now, apologies if suddenly this post starts resembling a Real Men Sow self-help book, but I enjoy compiling lists. It matters not whether the lists are neat and tidy spreadsheets, or scrawly and rudimentary on a scrap of paper. I write lists at work when packing for holiday and planning posts for Real Men Sow, but my favourite type of list is one for the garden.

I think there is an art to a good garden job list, too. You need to prioritise a couple of easy jobs, so you quickly feel like you’re achieving.

An Opportunity to Get Jobs Done!
I like to try and be positive when preparing a list. It’s not a long list of chores, but an opportunity to get stuff done!

(that did sound self-help, didn’t it??)

My preference for gardening lists is a pen and paper version. I love that moment of satisfaction when you get to put a big line through a completed job. And I also like being able to pin the list up, either in my kitchen or the greenhouse.

Paper Lists Live With You
A paper list comes alive too, with idle doodlings, little diagrams, and notes about the jobs. There is nothing better than seeing mucky fingerprints and soil stains appear on the paper as it lives with you while you zip about the plot completing tasks.

I’m reminded of Welsh clothes company howies, who once ran a lovely ad campaign called Make Your Own History. The concept was not washing your jeans, and instead of marvelling in each muddy stain or bike chain grease mark as memories to be cherished.

When I’m finished, I’m more than tempted to keep the list so I can look back on to remind me of all the springtime fun I had in 2013.

I can bet you that list will keep on growing, too. Happy Spring.

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