This is going to be the year we have a great garden. Every other year, we start out great guns, then we get busy with projects inside the house and lose track of what is happening in the yard. The next thing we know, the weeds are waist high, we can't see the vegetables, and the ducks and chickens are eating more of the produce than we are.
This year is going to be different. Why, you ask? Because we are determined! Also, because my son-in-law, Steve, has a weedless garden, and explained his secret: do a little bit every day!
So, on May 20 we began planting. We planned the layout of the garden, then all of the children got busy. Daniel put up chicken wire and other fences for the beans and the beefsteak tomatoes to climb. Sarah planted garlic, onions and beets. Linda planted Romaine lettuce, Swiss Chard, dill, and peas. Jared planted the potatoes; Elena put in sunflowers across the north end of the garden. Tiana happily planted watermelons.
Day after day, we were out there, digging and tilling and pulling up the roots of weeds that went on for miles. Daniel fixed the fence and planted morning glories so they would climb the split rails. Patrick patiently hauled load after load of well-rotted manure to augment our clay soil.
I am happy to report that the zucchini and sunflowers are up, as are the radishes. Only two brave potato plants have made their presence known, and half a dozen bean plants. A couple of our tomatoes have been attacked, but the majority are looking fine. NO sign of carrots or corn or lettuce or watermelons or peas.
Gardening is an endeavour that takes a lot of patience and a good measure of faith, along with hard work and consistency. We marvel that these tiny, lifeless (from our perspective) seeds, when put into the ground, suddenly sprout and shoot out green stems which search for sunlight! Day after day we see changes in the size of the plants. The weeds are astounding - where do they all come from??? We attack them every day with hoes and rakes, and we are winning the battle. We know that all good gifts are from above, and come down from the Father of lights. We know that no matter how hard we work, there isn't a blessed thing we can do to make that plant grow and produce fruit. We do our part, but we must trust God to do His part, which is really the biggest part. Even what we consider to be "our" part is only because of His grace - He has bestowed on us the strength to hoe and water and carry and plant and dig. He has given us the intelligence to read and learn the best way to plant each seed and care for each vegetable as it grows. All good gifts are from Him.
I have begun a gardening journal, and each of the children is working on one, too. I hope to be able to report by the end of the summer that we have eaten much, canned and frozen some, and have reaped the rewards of our consistent, hard work mingled with prayer and faith in the God Who Provides.
I hope to be able to tell you that this, indeed, was the year we had a great garden!
So far, so good.