Monday, June 22, 2009

The Weeds in my Garden

It has been a long time since I've had a garden, but for several reasons I am doing a garden this year. I planted radishes, peppers, tomatoes, onions, yellow squash, green beans, cucumbers, honey dew melons, canteloup, and watermelon. I usually do a pretty thorough job preparing the soil - this year adding a lot of "Back to the Earth" compost when we tilled under the grass. I put in simple furrows and got everything planted. I was blessed with a wet spring and I found a way to automate the watering (which is going to have to be modified now that we are under stage 2 water rationing.)

When I gardened years ago, I remember having great production from my garden plants inspite of the ever present weeds. I always seem to have many projects going on at once, so my time is never completely dedicated to the garden. And we have Johnson grass which can be a royal pain to get rid of. Tilling the soil does not get rid of Johnson grass and the rich watered soil provides a perfect environment for each root segment to sprout grass stems that can get up to 3 or 4 feet tall.

I have done some weeding this year, but the edge around my garden is marked with a tall Johnson grass fence that I kept hoping I would get mowed down. Problem is I have vining plants, so now it is probably impossible to mow without damaging them. The inside of the garden has the weeds a little better under control, but they are still there. A perfectionist gardener would be appalled. After all, weeds take nourishment from the good plants. And, there is an inner voice speaking not so softly into my mind: "A good gardener would have a weed free garden."

Saturday evening I picked 20 yellow squash - some pretty big. Tonight I picked another 11 squash. I'm blanching them and putting them in the freezer because those plants are making squash faster than we can eat them or share them with Jonathan and Debra. I'm getting into the rhythm of preserving - pickling, freezing, making jam (I bought the fruit.) The tomatoes are just beginning to start turning red and we get just enough green beans to either eat or put up a few bags in the freezer. The cucumbers are also going gang busters - I've working on my 3rd batch of sweet pickles. I've made 1 gallon of refrigerator bread and butter pickles and 4 quarts of "hot" dill pickles. I'm hoping to do one batch of the red cinnamon pickles and at least one or two more batches of bread and butter pickles. I'm also hoping to get enough tomatoes to do a bunch of jars of canned tomatoes. The peppers have been slow, but they are beginning to make green bell peppers. The melons all have fruit, but none are ripe yet.

My weedy garden is actually producing quite well. I've been thinking that there are probably several object lessons with this weedy garden. I'm a human being and my spirit has weeds as well - those areas of my life where I'm not perfect, areas of my life where sin is lurking, areas of my life where my habits and routines are poor, and areas of my life that need improvement. And, I believe that no matter how hard I try this will always be the case, because I am a human living in a fallen world.

The weeds in my garden give me hope. God is my master gardener. He knows which weeds really need to come out to keep from choking my spiritual growth and which ones can be removed later. He can fertilize my spiritual soil, loosen the dirt for my roots to grow deeper, and rejoice over the productive things that I am able to accomplish in spite of those pesky, weedy weaknesses. I am an imperfect creature with probably as many internal weeds as my garden has. But I know that God has used me in special ways sometimes because of some of those weeds. I need to use an encouraging voice to myself pointing out those good, successful things that do bear bountiful fruit.


shelley said...

I wouldn't mind having some of your pickle recipes if you do not mind sharing. I am intrigued by the "hot" recipe.

Mary Ann Melton said...

Hi, Shelley send me your email address so I can send you the pickle recipes!