Monday, May 9, 2011

Getting Ready to Grow Some...Stuff

Here's the plan after taking into consideration crop rotation, early and late crops, fences and blackberry bushes, and...designing a garden is pure strategy and a lot of letting go, too.  Here are a few things I'm observing/learning:

1.  The ground is tilled.  The compost box is empty again.

(Garden Secret:  God uses everything.  Everything.  Even the bad stuff.  You've made some bad choices.  Who hasn't?  Let God work with it.  Don't fear it and don't hide it.)

2.  You want to work on a 3 year cycle, so it helps to section your garden into at least 3 areas, and move things around that way--it decreases insect and disease problems because the insect larvae and residual diseases like certain plants.  When they wake up in a couple of weeks, they'll be pretty confused as to why their beloved tomatoes aren't there anymore.  It also improves the quality of your dirt because plants require different nutrients.  Rotating crops means less "anemic" soil.

(Another secret:  When something isn't working, try something else.   Get up and move.   The good things will stick with you and the bad stuff will be too lazy to follow you to your healthier location.)

3.  It's also a good idea to work your rows from north to south.  This means the whole row gets equal access to sunshine, which means each plant has the same chance to grow.

(And:  Any of you ever felt like you lived in someone else's shadow?  Yep.  You are who you are for a reason.  There's no reason to stand in someone else's dark spot in the same way there's no reason to put out someone else's light.  Move on.)

4.  Think about how much room your plants will need in 3 months, not just now.  They are going to get a lot bigger.

(This, too:  How large are you willing to let your life grow?  Are you still huddled inside yourself, crouching, shrinking, wincing?  He promises Life Abundant.  Grow into it, folks.  Swing your arms wide.  Plant your two feet as far apart as you can.  And LOVE.  Get on with it.)

5.  If you have a fence near your garden, use it as a support for your climbers--cucumbers, pole beans, sweet peas.  Whenever you can use vertical space; it increases the size of your garden.  Don't just look at the ground all day.

(Yes:  Willa Cather in O Pioneers! talking of the first people who turned Nebraska into the green place it is said something like, "When you've spent most of your day staring at the ground in front of you, it's hard to look too far into the future."  Now, I'm not one for thinking too much about the future, to be honest.  It doesn't hold much in reality.  But I do think it's always a good reminder to change your line of vision occasionally.  Put something new in your eyes everyday, and it will change your heart just a little bit, enough to remind you that there are other possibilities than the one you've been expecting.)

6.  Plant rows.  I know.  This seems...easy.  But my first garden was...abstract, a daredevil, a freedom loving riot of tomato and weeds and pumpkin and weeds and grass and cilantro was impossible to hoe.  There.  I said it.  I just stood in front of it, shook my head for about 15 minutes and then walked away.

(So:  Don't be afraid to be deliberate.  You know what's right and what's wrong.  As much as possible, do that which would please Him.  Plant the row.  I hope you know how much this is a note for ME more than it is for you.  I have produced a lot of compost in my life because I didn't walk the line.  And when you don't do that, it's nearly impossible to have the power to name the difference between a good thing and a killing thing.)

And there is so much more...but gardening is hard work, and I don't want to exhaust you on the first day.

Oh!  I do have a new invention!  If I had my way, this would be made of retractible, waterproof line.  You use it to mark your rows and seed spacing while you're planting.

1.  take two dowels, 12" to 14" so you can stick them in the ground far enough that they don't move around a lot
2.  drill a hole in the top of each one and thread some yarn or whatever you have through (about 25' depending on the length of your rows)
3.  Mark the line in inches.

So, when you use this guy, you can get straight rows and get the right seed spacing, too.   It won't do your taxes.  Sorry.

God bless all of you!


  1. Someday...someday. When we have a house, a yard, at least a small part of it will be taken over for a garden. My mom used to have one every year. The soil was sandy...we got tomatoes, sometimes a few beans, not much. If Joshua and I settle in Nebraska for longer than the next couple years, I will have good Nebraska soil to work with. And I will be calling you for advice. :)

    You could turn this post into a devotion or a Bible study. It was just what I needed to hear today. (Thanks God!)

  2. Agreed. Your "gardening secrets" couldn't have come at a better time :) I'm very much looking forward to class with you again in the fall.