Tomatoes and herbs
About two years ago I started a little garden outside my kitchen windows.  They are really just three squares of metal filled with dirt and as you can see I didn’t think of my knees much because I put in some pretty but chunky blue rocks around the metal squares.

I decided to make one square flower experiments, one vegetable plants and one herbs with a few tomatoes between the herbs.  Thus, I have mint and oregano growing under a tomato plant in this photo.

I really don’t know what I’m doing but I just try things and push in seeds or bulbs and then see what works and what doesn’t.  I’ve gone through stages of studying books and blogs but then I get busy with other things and then, well you know.

You remember the book, “Everything I ever needed to know about life, I learned in Kindergarten” ?  I feel like that about gardening.  Everything I ever need to know about God and life, I learned in the garden.  Well, not exactly but it is like a crucible for life lessons.

Here are a few of those things:

  • Preparation is really important.  Soil and it’s nutrients can make all the difference in the outcome.  Lay your land first. Feed your soil nutrients.  Create an environment for growth.

 

  • Put your seeds and bulbs in at the right time.  Timing is everything.   Give it a little water and then a little sun and keep an eye on it.  If you can’t look after it yourself, you need to find some helpers with this. Here are a few of my helpers.

 

Stone cat full
Sam in sun stretched
Stone lion side

Cardinal in the garden keeping an eye on things

  • If you don’t pay attention, weeds will grow and choke the good plants so stay on top of your weeds. They suck out the nutrients in your soil just like distractions will ruin the environment for growth you’ve created for yourself and your family.

 

  • If you didn’t pay attention to the weeds/”weeds” and they are out of control, try not to stand up and look at the whole square bed at once or you will get overwhelmed.  Just squat down and start in one corner plucking them up until you clear out one area and then go on to the next and so on until they are clear again.  Try to keep one eye on your weeds all the time.

Tulips with weeds

  • Patience, patience patience.  You have to put in a little time each week for a long time before you start to see glimmers of the final outcome.  On parenting, those glimmers start to come more and more just before your child leaves for college.
  • Even plants go through puberty and look a little awkward on the way to full grown.

I have caught myself shouting at the tomatoes “Grow already, would you, for heaven’s sake, the plot at school next door where no one even looks after it but once in a while is FULL of tomatoes and I give you all this attention and NOTHING?! ”  I’m telling you, that actually doesn’t work.  Neither does complimenting your plants.  You have to wait either way.  However, compliments for kids and those you love create beautiful blooms so here things differ.

Hyacinth in puberty

  • You can look at gardening as a chore or make it fun but if you want to grow something, you need to put in some work on your knees in the muck of the dirt so you might as well make it fun.

I learned a great trick from my sister on this.  She lives in Nashville and sometimes we would talk on the phone at night and she would be gardening by candlelight.  I started doing this too.

Occasionally, after dinner when the kids are doing homework, I’ll go out into the garden and light my hurricane lanterns on stakes, take a glass of wine and put on my Gardening playlist of smooth and relaxing tunes.

Now this takes gardening to a whole new level!  It’s actually one of the most relaxing things ever.  Sometimes my son comes out to play acoustic guitar and we are all in wind down mode.  I think my vegetables like it too.

frog lantern garden

  • The fruit of your labor tastes so great after all that hard work.  I don’t care if it is the bittiest beet, tomato or squash….it seems to taste amazing after being hand tended.  This photo from last summer gets me motivated to plant more again this spring.

Amazing how such different things all grow up in the same patch of dirt!

Eggplant from the garden

  • It is my delight to work with God but He is in full control of the ultimate outcome.  I find things go so much better when I lean in to Him and seek Him in my projects, parenting, decisions and daily life.  Most of the time, He makes me feel like I did something amazing but really I know HE”S amazing.

 

He can turn an ugly knobby bulb into this! Wow, right? He does it everyday, everywhere.  Quietly showing off his creation for you and me.

Tulips in vase

What’s on my gardening playlist?  Keith Urban’s Days go By (nod to Nashville for the idea), All Who are Thirsty by Brenton Brown, Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin and lots more that work for digging in the dirt in peace.  Here’s to your spring plantings and time in the garden, and may you discover the places you need to be patient in your life and keep planting the seeds you are planting of hope and encouragement into your kids or those around you.

Best,

Ivy

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