Category Archives: Gardening

Thoughts from my Garden

There’s no better time or place for pondering than the garden in the morning. Before the heat starts bearing down, while the cool damp air wafts the scent of fresh cilantro my way as I’m watering the herbs…ahhh, nothing compares! This morning I spent an hour or more just watering and cooing to my lush green tomato plants, and ridding the pathways of stray weeds. They love me! (the tomatoes, not the weeds!)

I saw the telltale signs of hornworm action on two of the tomato plants. Grrr. The hunt began. It always scares me how well those large green worms blend in on a tomato vine. The damage they do is very obvious–they eat the end leaves off of the tomato plants, leaving an empty nub–but the worm itself is good at “making like a vine” and camouflaging itself till your nose is inches away and you suddenly see the thing. Ugh.

Isn’t that the way it is with life? Sometimes you see the effects of sin in your life…perhaps cutting you off from bearing fruit for Christ, or having fruitful relationships with others. Sometimes you have to trace that sin down and deal with it. Maybe it’s plainer to others than it is to you. Whatever the case, if you let it go, it will destroy you and the consequences will spread to those around you…if it’s a hornworm, pluck it off and smash it; if it is a weed, uproot it and throw it in the burn pile before it takes over your life.

Gardening with children is a great way to teach discernment. Last week we were weeding the onions. We have a long row and a half of onions, and it is a wide row, so there are three onions across, then four, then three, alternating in a foot wide raised bed. Lots of training opportunities while weeding with kiddos. Onion tops are green, so are most weed tops. The good and the bad grow side by side, close comparison helps one to discern what to leave and what to pull.

Side by side comparison in real life is helpful as well. Whether it be in the garden, or when choosing the best Bible translation, there is no better way to gain discernment than comparing the good and the bad side by side for their differences.

In creation and in spiritual things, discernment is critical. Take wild edibles for instance. With wild edibles, poisonous plants and medicinal plants often look alike. Do you know how many campers have dined on what they thought was wild carrots, when in fact it was a poisonous look-alike, poison hemlock? Deadly mistake. Sometimes close inspection is necessary for survival. Whether it be physical or spiritual.

Another parallel to this consideration would be Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares. A tare in the field looks exactly like the wheat, but at harvest time, the wheat produces fruit, and tares do not. 2 Timothy 2:19 tells us that “the Lord knoweth them that are his”…We’re also told a few verses earlier, in 2 Timothy 2:15, that we’re to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Discernment is key if you are Christian living in today’s world. It’s easy to be confused by counterfeits.

Just some thoughts from my garden.

1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.”

In My Garden

This intriguing fellow is only one of the fun finds galore on gardening days at our place! He was so not happy, that “grin” is really a snarl, if  you can’t tell! Yikes!

This picture, gingerly taken by soil-dirty fingers belonging to yours truly, shows you the view from my garden facing North, toward our house.  Behind the red tiller is our puppy run, current home to three adorable Australian Shepherd puppies.  See our Suburban behind my potato patch? The potato patch I’m forever scaring our chickens out of. My hubby swears he is going to catch me on film and turn it into millions on “Funniest Home Videos”–I guess I’m rather a hilarious sight to behold, giving those hens a piece of my mind for enjoying the loose soft dirt around my taters. Poor taters–er, chickens.

Tonight, at 10 p.m., on my way back to the house after shutting our chickens up for the night…I just couldn’t resist a visit to my garden.

It’s one of those cool, rustly summer nights. If the wind in our state could ever be termed “peaceful”, it is tonight. Loving the sound of it in the treetops, I panned my flashlight through the garden fence, tiptoeing to the old wooden gate as if my light hadn’t already scared away those pesky rabbits who made away with my cauliflower and lettuce transplants a few weeks ago. But even the rabbit raids make for great memories, as my eldest and her daddy have taken to “rabbit hunting” with their rifles at dusk. They’ve eliminated a few rabbit pests from the property in past weeks. I’ve eliminated rabbits from my garden with good old cayenne pepper on the plants. *Smile* (Thanks for the tip, hubby’s mom!)

The garden is dry, in spite of the wonderful rain we received on Tuesday. I bend to pull some weeds in my lettuce bed and realize I’m unearthing radishes–oops. Best save weeding for daylight. Weeding wasn’t meant to be done by the glow of the moon anyway. About as unromantic as a gardener that mistakes radish tops for weeds. Ah-hem.

I’ve meant all spring to write a post about the fun we had making soil blocks at Farmer John’s, which we planted and stowed beneath grow lights in the basement. Perhaps I still will post about it, I’ve got some great pics to share, and soil blocking is a super fun and economical way to start seeds. The second picture on this page showcases my Romaine and Salad Bowl lettuce still in flats on planting day several weeks ago!

Here’s a picture of my wide row of yellow onions, the first thing in the garden–pic taken back in April. I’d love to keep a garden journal, from year to year, not only for the memories, but for the practicality of having a record. My memory is mush when it comes to details. Too many in my life already!

And last but not least, my garden is full of these homemade stone markers. Since we grew most of our plants with the help of grow lights, we needed garden stakes or markers to know what was growing where. Rather than buy blank stakes and keep track that way, my girls and I decided to paint stones. Here’s the one we did for “cherry tomatoes”.  For watermelon, we painted a triangle shaped rock pink with a green “rind” and dotted it with dark brown seeds…

This will be our first year gardening “organically”. I do hope the cutworms and squash bugs don’t dampen my resolve at first sighting! I keep asking Farmer John about organic pest control, and he keeps saying…vigilant patroling of plants and a lot of bug picking.

Joy.

Speaking of Joy. My mom would agree that our favorite gardening book of all time is The Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond. Farmer John thinks it’s a must have as well. If you even think you might want to learn about gardening, this is a book  you won’t be able to put down. It’s full of great pictures, how-to’s and tips from a pro on everything from starting seedlings, to tilling, creating raised soil beds, wide row techniques, composting and root cellar storage. I even take my copy to the garden with me, and have dirt smudges on the pages to prove it.

Who all is growing veggies this summer? Do you have a favorite book on the subject? Organic pest control tips? I’d love to hear them in comments!