The Kitchen Garden

Like many people we know, Chris and I are attempting a vegetable garden this summer. We did a weeny-teeny one last year and thought it wasn’t too bad, so why not try again this year, only bigger? So bigger we got. Last year’s garden was a few tomato plants, zucchini (that got eaten by a critter early on), cucumbers (likewise succumbing to something) and basil. This year, the list is ridiculous and includes just about everything that we like to eat and thought we could possibly grow. Our thought was that as Chris is a teacher and gets the summers off, and I’m a SAHM and have all the time in the world, having a huge garden would be possible and save us money at the grocery store.

Man, we have had to do a lot of work! Our garden of about 800 sq ft was nothing but weeds when we started turning the ground this summer. And being too tight to rent any machinery, Chris and I double-dug several large beds by hand. Wow, but old-school farmers must have been ripped. My whole body complained after digging our beds! By the grace of God, a friend lent us his tiller which we were able to use on some of our less horrendously overgrown and compacted beds.

So now our garden is growing. All of the labor invested into digging up our clay soil and mixing in lots of compost seems to be working, because our potato plants are thriving, carrots have sprouted, peas are climbing their trellis and we’ve already eaten some lettuce and spinach (the leaves that the rabbits left for us). As the weather warms, our tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash and other good things will cover the bare ground that is just waiting for something other than weeds to take it over. We’ll learn how to keep the bunnies from our lettuce and reap the benefits of all this digging, weeding, watering, and bug-repelling in full plates and pantry this fall.

But all of this is said with two words which change everything: Lord willing. Though I might think our efforts make us deserve a rich harvest, I can do little more than plant and care for my seeds. It is the Lord who makes them grow, sends the rain, keeps the locusts (or other critters) from devouring our plants and causes the plants to produce a fruit. Our garden may bring us more than food this fall; I think I’ll be learning lessons in trust every time I step into our garden and see changes for good or ill. If only it was as easy to let go of my other plans in life as it is to a pepper that’s been attacked by a worm.

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One Response to The Kitchen Garden

  1. Mom says:

    I wish you much luck. We have not even tilled our garden yet. It’s still getting into the low 30’s around here and more rainy days than not.

    Start planning now for canning in the fall. Look around at garage sales for jars (buy new rings and lids). If you are very fortunate you may even find a hot bath pot with all the accoutrements (rack, lifter) or even a pressure cooker (check the seals and valve before buying). Look for recipes online on all the different ways you can use your produce or even take a class (I did and it was worth it) through the parks department or county extension agency.

    See if there are Master Gardeners in your area that can help you with your pest problems too. We have some great ones around here through the extension agency. And check out the Master Composters too. We had a big composting fair a couple of weekends ago and they did a great job of presenting the correct way to compost. I learned an awful lot.

    Give your garden over to Heavenly Father, then get out there and work it.

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