Gardening Simplicity

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” — Alfred Austin

One can dream and plan of what they want their garden to be like year after year. However, if the weather and abilities to put that plan in motion are not in your favor, you will need to be able to see your dream change to meet the new circumstances. I would love to have my garden blossoming with colors right now, as it is almost mid June. Yet, this year the weather conditions, asthma, allergies, and even baseball season came first over managing the gardening plans. Am I a little sad to see my garden at an early stage? Sure. But I know it will still have plenty of time to grow and be wonderful.

In the past, I have taken a lot of time making raised rows for the plant types. This year, I just made hills for each individual plant. I do this to ensure the plant has enough soft soil to sprawl the new roots into in order to get established. As well as to ensure the plant doesn’t drown, if a big rain storm comes along during that critical period.

In previous years, I had tried to plant a lot of vegetables in a small amount of space. My thinking was more plants equaled more produce. Yet, I discovered my sensitive skin would break out and itch after going into the garden. Did you know there actually is a skin allergy to tomato leaves? So just add that to my list of allergies. I made sure to space the tomatoes out and make the rows wide enough this time around. I have changed my thinking to more quality than quantity.

Furthermore, I want my garden to place of relaxing and discovering. I planted a lot of flowers in the garden and nearby. Natural attraction and resistance of good and bad insects are welcome to come by (or stay away).  I left plenty of empty space for my boys to dig in the dirt. To discover what lives in the dirt. Enjoy all aspects of what God has given us to help sustain us. If we don’t enjoy seeing the delicate processes that go on inside a garden, why do we have one. God desires us to seek him on a regular basis. Where else can we focus on his masterpieces than in a garden.

 

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Do You Save Seeds to Repeat Success?

“Flowers and fruit are only the beginning. In the seed lies the life and the future.” –Marion Zimmer Bradley

Saving seeds from plants for future plantings has been around for generations. However, thanks to technology advancements, not all seeds from produce will be successful in developing into a new plant. The plant varieties with a better chance of reproducing itself are known as open-pollinated, heirloom, and organic. These varieties rely on nature to pollinate them. Hybrid or GMO (genetically modified organism) plants are made to be hard to reproduce themselves. The actual process of seed saving can be tedious and requires strict guidelines in order to not get a new plant that has cross pollinated with another one during the previous season in the garden. For this reason, I do not try to save seeds from my vegetables. If you would like to try seed savings, I would advise you to do more research on the internet.

Despite the fact of seed saving of vegetables is difficult to do, saving those from flowers is much easier. Once the flower is brown & dead, pluck it from its stem. If the flower petals are not super dry, lay them on a plate to allow them to continue to dry. Now that the petals are brittle, carefully pull them apart to find the flower seed pod or seeds on the inside. Put the seeds in a seal able bag or container and don’t forget to label them. I have saved my dead zinnia and marigold flowers this year. I didn’t bother separating the two either. I want to be surprised to see the color and variety mixture next year in the garden.

Seed saving for a repeat success is unknown til the next growing season. Seeds contain nutrients for that particular plant to grow and bloom. God also saves seeds and plants them in his own time. The Holy Spirit acts like the gardener ensuring that those seeds of faith show themselves at the right time. No one person knows whether the saved seeds will survive to bloom. But God knows that if the seeds are not sown at the right time, saving them won’t matter. Let him grow your seeds and let others see him in your success.

Flowers Bring Life to the Garden as Vegetable Dwindle

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful: they are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul.” –Luther Burbank

Leaves are falling to the ground as the wind loosens them from the tree branches. The garden is in a state of transition. Vegetable plants that don’t contain produce are being pulled up. Why continue to feed plant leaves with no reward of vegetables? Saves those ground nutrients for the next garden. The weeds have changed to yellow-brown coloring. However, the temperature changes have fooled some tomato plants to making new tomatoes on top of the dead looking plants. Silly plants it is fall not spring! Although, the flowers still continue to bloom.

Having a variety of flowers in the vegetable garden make transition times enjoyable, beautiful, and helpful to the garden. Marigolds are early bloomers in the spring, which will continue to do so until a hard frost kills them. I have found the dwarf varieties bloom more consistently. Marigolds are also beneficial to deter pests with their pungent odor. Zinnias flowers bloom in the heat of the summer all the way to a hard frost. They attract beneficial pollinators like wasp and butterflies. This was the first year planting a row of zinnias and I have seen a ton of butterflies. I definitely will plant more of them next year. Cosmos flowers are late summer bloomers as they grow rather tall for flowers, up to 3-6 feet! These flowers attract beneficial insects to the garden (to actually feed on other pest). Of course, flowers any where bring beauty to the space.

Flowers bring life to the garden as well as the gardener. God is the ultimate gardener and we are his flowers. God said he will supply you what you need. He wants us to be happy, even when seasons change. Flowers bring delight to the soul, a smile to the face, and often a memory to the heart & mind. Garden flowers have purpose throughout their life span. You have a purpose too. Have faith and follow his path. Pause from your journey every once in a while and enjoy these beauties he provides.