Gardening and research

I love gardening. I love research.

These activities are analogous:

Gardening Research
Biodiversity minimizes the impact of diseases and pests. A multidisciplinary or broad research program is more resilient against systemic failures.
Plants grow according to their own rythms. You can rush a plant with fertilizers, but the plant will become fragile and short-lived. (Example: using fertilizers with a coreopsis is a bad idea.) If you want quick results, pick the plant accordingly. Some research programs take years to unfold and bear fruits. In such cases, telling people to publish more will only generate weak and forgettable papers.
Gardening requires regularity. You cannot easily do all of your gardening one day a week. Working almost daily is the best way to push your research program forward. Systematically rushing prior to the deadlines will only work if you have frequent deadlines.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

2 thoughts on “Gardening and research”

  1. I cannot agree more. The core similarity here is time. Research requires time to mediate on the ideas, to think of their context and consequences. For me, most of these thoughts appear when I am sort of idle: Washing the dishes or waiting in line. These thoughts are sort of independent – very much like plants.

  2. Hi Daniel,
    I love your analogy of gardening versus research. May I resonate it with “It takes one year to grow crops, more than ten years to grow trees, and many tens of years to grow people. Gardening, research – these all help in the growing of people.”
    We are conducting a research (with a virtual research team of 4, our research is unfunded, i.e. not based on University or institution funding, and our team members are doing research on a voluntary basis – we may be a rare of its kind)in the global community. You are welcome to visit my blog: and for information and comments

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