When we were looking for our new home last summer, one of the things on our ‘list of wants’ was space to start a garden. We knew the home we ended up with was our home the very first time we saw it. And guess what? It has space for a garden! Make that 4 raised beds ready-to-go as soon as we cleared out the 5-foot-tall weeds. We did clear the weeds away pretty quickly after moving in, and found we could grow carrots and romaine lettuce fairly easily. Our lettuce actually survived well into the fall. I think it ended up holding on until the first snow arrived.
Our plan all along was to begin our spring/summer garden around the beginning of April. We procrastinated and did not actually plant until sometime in early May. Then a day came when my daughter simply asked me if she and her younger brother could go ahead and plant. Since I had been putting it off for one reason or another….it was too cold, we needed to weed first, we needed top soil…..I told them to go ahead. They even used some paint stirrers to create labels for the rows. It was time well-spent, bonding for brother and sister, while planting something that would grow and feed us all. It was all good.
We have each spent some time watering, weeding, and harvesting our garden over the last couple of months. And I, for one, have learned a few things from tending these tender shoots of new life.
4 Lessons I Have Learned From Tending My Backyard Garden This Summer
- Weeds grow quickly! If left for long, weeds will take over the beds. We must be diligent, checking each day for weeds and pulling them out by the roots, before they have a chance to choke out the plant we are trying to nurture. Also necessary is tossing the weeds into a pail of some sort. If thrown on the ground then, of course, they simply sprout again where they lie. Doesn’t this sound so much like our spiritual lives? Our ‘weeds’ often sprout before we even realize it. Then we must slog through the overgrowth, pulling the roots up one by one. We must be diligent each day, pulling up our spiritual weeds by the roots. We must give them up to God rather than simply stuffing them away somewhere where they can sprout up again and slow our growth.
- Plants need water daily. Whether nurturing a flower bed or a garden filled with vegetables, one must provide water. Diligence enters the picture again. Checking daily to see which plants are thriving and which are beginning to wither on the vine is essential. Observe. Evaluate. Act. I have found this to also be necessary spiritually. I need watering daily, as well, both physically and spiritually, otherwise I will become thirsty, and eventually begin dying on the vine. In order to quench my thirst I need to be reading His Word, checking in with Him daily, to connect with the Vine. Ask. Listen. Obey.
- Space is needed. I allowed my children to head on out and plant our garden without doing any research about the seeds we were planting. Since we did not do any research, there were things we did not know we needed to do. For instance, cucumbers are viney. They kind of crawl across the ground, so if planted too close to one another or to any other plants, they can become like weeds, choking out themselves, as well as other seedlings that may be planted nearby. There will be growth. But if given space to branch out, to reach upwards (as on a trellis as was suggested by a Facebook friend), how much more growth will be seen? This also relates to our spiritual lives. We, as God’s people, need space to breathe, to be still before Him. When we crowd our lives with children’s activities, work, social engagements, etc., these things can become like weeds, crawling across our space and choking the life out of us. Then there is no space left in which we can grow. When will we reach upwards to the One who created us to receive the water, to pull the weeds out by their roots?
- Stakes are needed. One set of seeds we planted was for tomatoes. We have two whole rows of tomato plants now and I cannot wait until we can begin harvesting them! They are growing heavy with green tomatoes, and I know someday soon they will receive their lovely blush of color. I can almost taste them! However, since tomatoes are heavy, their plants must be staked or placed in tomato cages. For a little while it won’t matter. They’re seeds, then just tiny plants. But one day, they are in full bloom, towering above the other plants in the garden and they will begin to sway and bend in the rain and wind, eventually falling over under the weight of their burden. And the fruit will scatter to the ground and rot before ever growing to full ripeness. Can you see the correlation? We need stakes, too. Jesus is our stake. He will help us to grow straight. He will send people into our lives to help hold up our arms, as He did for Moses, when the burdens of this world become too much for us. He loves us! We must call on Him to be our stake and then hand Him our burdens, as well as our joys and success daily, even hourly, if needed. That is the way be can be sure to grow straight, ever-reaching upwards, to ripen into the fullness of who He has called us to be.
As I spent time out in the beds today, working to stake the tomato plants after I had failed to be diligent in checking their growth, this post ruminated in my head. I am so amazed by all that God is teaching me about nurturing plants, but also about my relationship with Him and my relationship with my children and husband, through my backyard garden.
My learning is not done.
Has God been teaching you important lessons this summer? I would love to hear your story! Please leave me a comment.
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