“No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.” –Hugh Johnson
As a gardener, I am not a picky one. I try new varieties of plants each year. However, I stick with vegetables my family will eat. I am not one that will use up valuable space for ones that we don’t like. We have had problems in the past with moles in the yard and our soil is also rather rocky with layers of slate not too far under the ground. I would think that it would not be conducive to making any decent amount of carrots or potatoes, so I don’t plant any root vegetables.
My own garden has encountered difficulties this season. Started out cold and wet, then turned into extreme heat and dry. My health didn’t allow me to tend to it as much as it needed. My sprinkler broke. My schedule just got busy. However, not everyone had these difficulties. Just 15 to 20 minutes down the road either direction, the weather was much more garden friendly.
As a mom of two growing boys and me with food allergies, I am not one to say no to friends when they offer free food from their gardens. Fresh vegetables not from the store is trustworthy, more flavorful, and last longer. I am able to freeze items and can items up for a later time. So when I am offered a bag of peppers, box of tomatoes, or even corn from a farmer’s auction, I say YES!! Bring it to me or I can come get it! It may take me a day or so to prepare, cook, and preserve the bounty but it is so worth it weeks and months to come.
God will always provide food for you to eat. Tell him of your worries and trust him. Matthew 6:25. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”
“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.
“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” –Mark Twain
Here it is mid February and signs of spring are seen outside. Nature forgot to follow the calendar …. spring isn’t suppose to be for another month! However, daffodils are blooming, redbud trees are showing their pinkness, and the willow tree is bright green.
This is the time of year for planning. A time to look back and plan ahead. Questions to answer …What plants worked well for me last year? Where do I get my seeds for the garden? How much do I need to get? When do I start my indoor planting? Do I have supplies to do so? How does this early spring weather affect my planting?
“For everything is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1
“Just because you’ve only got houseplants doesn’t mean you don’t have the gardening spirit – I look upon myself as an indoor gardener.” –Sara Moss-Wolfe
During the winter, I become an indoor gardener. The ground outside is hard and cold. The temperature inside is warm and inviting for plants to continue to thrive. I don’t have many plants to tend too, having 3 indoor cats limit the space and varieties of safe ones. Nonetheless, having live plants inside give benefits to everyone. They aid in air purification, improve mental wellness and concentration, add humidity to the air, boost productivity and make you feel better all around. Indoor plants need lots of sunshine and water. Tending to them will ensure to be tending to yourself. Getting sunlight during a time when outdoor activities are limited. Boosting your memory to watering them more often as the heat will dry them out quicker.
Winter is also a time to reflect. As we look back over our garden notes, we hope for better and bigger results in the future. For some though, it is a difficult and lonely time. Plants give a purpose to do things. God says he will always be with you, even in the difficult times. Just have faith and hope for the future. One with lots of sunshine of warmth, green grasses, and plenty of dirt to play in.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Talk you soon, keep dreaming.
“Gardening imparts an organic perspective on the passage of time.” –William Cowper
Fall is in full swing and winter is coming around the corner. The vegetable garden has stopped producing and the frost has killed off the remaining flowers. Time to think about how your garden is going to rest for a few months.
First off, how do you store your garden supplies? I stack my tomato cages together in groups of 5 or 6 of like sizes. Then I put them in front of my wood shed. Ideally, they would be stored out of the weather but I don’t have extra space to spare. My fence isn’t a permanent one. So with help from my boys, we pull up the stakes and roll the fencing up . I put it next to my cages – keeping all supplies together.
Secondly, is to clean the garden plot. Some people will pull up all the plants & weeds and put them in a compost bin. I don’t do this. Instead, I pull up the vegetable plants and leave them on the ground. We use the garden plot to burn our leaves that have fallen on that side of the yard. Burning the garden plot is beneficial for it too. Any diseases from that growing season would be killed. The ash of organic matter is added back into the soil as potash. This aids in balancing the pH value of the soil, helps with flowering & fruit growth, and is a pest deterrent for slugs and snails.
Thirdly, is to til the garden. This will mix in the added nutrients from the leaves and ash. It will loosen any remaining roots from the plants and weeds. Also, tilling will add more pathways in the soil where more air & water can penetrate and be stored.
The fourth step to winterizing the garden is to add mulch, compost, manure, or ground cover. Basically a layer of something to prevent additional weeds from taking over. This year, we have the opportunity to have a way to get some horse manure from a friend’s farm. This manure contains a great source of nutrients for the soil to absorb as it breaks down over the winter months.
A time for rest isn’t a new practice. God started it in the very beginning. The Bible tells us he created for six days and then took a rest. It was not because he was tired. It was to show us to have faith that he will take care of things while you rest. Just because you aren’t working the topside of the garden, it doesn’t mean things aren’t happening in the soil underneath. So be obedient and rest your garden and yourself for a season.
“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.
“Unlike your favorite painting or sentimental vase, a landscape is alive and constantly changing.” –Author Unknown
As it has become autumn on the calendar and in the weather, the garden has changed in production and appearance. The cool days and even cooler nights has made it difficult for the plants to absorb enough nutrients to stay healthy. Add wet weather or excessive dew that doesn’t dry up quickly cause of lack of sunshine, mold and other disease can settle into the plants.
Tomato plants are heat loving plants. Mine has stopped putting out new fruit and the leaves have turned brown and dropped off. The same has happened with the purple hull peas. My pole beans and peppers are confused though. A lot of the pole bean vine has turned brown and dropped leaves. But then we had a week of hot weather again. Guess what – new flowers appeared and even new sprouts came up from the ground. Did you know that pole beans can produce right up to the frost date? The pepper plants reacted similarly, new flowers and veggies growing.
To extend your vegetable garden, one could plant crops suited for cooler climates. Some of those would include broccoli, greens, cabbage, radishes, beets, pumpkins, and numerous others. I personally do not plant for a fall garden. I can’t have the roughage (that most of those vegetables have) due to my Crohn’s Disease. So as the fall season begins so does the ending of my vegetable garden for the year.
The Bible verse says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, ‘To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.’ Now that the garden isn’t needing a lot of attention, look around and see where you are needed next. Just because the visible growing season may be coming to an end, doesn’t mean life isn’t still growing. Rely on God through all your seasons.