Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lessons from the Garden

One of the joys of Summer of 2017 has been the addition of our garden. We have been blessed to be part of the Homegrown program through our local community garden, Sprouting Hope.  I have wanted to garden for so long but just had no clue where to start.  Thankfully Robert through Sprouting Hope has been a patient and kind garden mentor to me and has taught me so much.  I knew I would enjoy the harvest of a garden, but I never dreamed that I would enjoy the journey so much.  There is something so fulfilling and therapeutic about digging in the dirt and working hard to feed your family in a healthy and organic way.

Here are my bunching onions and I actually harvested one tonight to use in my dinner.

Today Robert came to visit our garden as he does often to check in with us and to give us advice on how to keep the garden healthy.  Today he brought Candace from Grow Appalachia through Berea College in Kentucky who is a supporter financially to this program and Sprouting Hope.  She has a wealth of knowledge on organic gardening and she helped me so much today!  I am just so thankful for this opportunity to learn how to grow healthy and organic food for my family.  Having a child that had cancer has made me think of the environmental links to cancer and if I can help us be healthier with homegrown food, I am super thankful.
Here are my healthy and beautiful squash plants !  Tonight I gave the soil a shot of nitrogen using fish emulsion.  I planted my plants and seeds directly into compost that had chicken manure in it and now weeks later I gave it a fresh shot of nitrogen through fish emulsion.  Organic gardening is amazing but it certainly has some strong smells to it:)
Our potato plants that Dave and Hope planted themselves!  They are so proud of them.  We are fighting some annoying flea beetles on the potato plants but Robert has a safe and organic plan to get rid of those nasty things.  Notice also we planted marigolds around the border of our garden and we have a fence!! We have lots and lots and lots of bunnies and deer here on the golf course.  We want to feed our family and share with the community-not provide an all-you-can eat midnight buffet to the animals!
The garden has provided lots of family time as we have worked together to start from scratch.  Kyle helped us hoe the mounds in place for planting and he helped with the fence, David and Hope helped hoe and also planted all of our potatoes and some tomatoes.  Mike was the chief fence maker because by that point I was sunburned and exhausted!  I want my children to learn how to garden and to see the benefits of working hard for something so worthwhile.
My precious potato planters!

God has also used this garden to remind me of some solid biblical truths as I have spent hours and hours in the garden.  I was so proud of my bushy and lush tomato plants during one of Robert's visits.  He started pruning away all that beauty and I kind of sort of freaked out.  He took my full plants and made them look weak and thin.  He explained to me that we must prune well and often to keep the energy going to the produce not to useless stems which many around here call "suckers."

Then this past Sunday the pastor did a wonderful sermon on pruning using the scripture from John.

I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit.  For apart from me you can do notihing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned. 
John 15:5-6

That is so like God to use my tomato plants aw a great reminder to stay close to him. My life's ambition is to stay close to God and let Him use my life to bear much fruit for His Kingdom.  It is not all about me sitting around and looking all full and beautiful.  It is about me being pruned and used for His glory.  

I want my life to be used to point others to Christ.  I want to help the least and the lost.  I want to work hard to make my community stronger through volunteering and serving.  I want to use my garden to bless others less fortunate than us with fresh and healthy food.  I want to be a good wife and teach my children to Serve God and serve others all the days of their life.  I do not want to be a full plant that exists for my beauty but a pruned plant that produces fruit for Him.  

It is amazing that six rows of vegetables can teach us show much Godly wisdom.  Only God can use my tomato plants to remind me to point others to Him and to love my neighbor.  May I strive to be one of those pruned plants that produces much harvest!  

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