Lessons From the Garden

Over the past several years I have wasted a whole lotta of time, energy, and resources planting gardens that were way too large to maintain.

Ahhh, the Joy of Gardening!

The thought of planting a lush and bountiful garden which would produce nourishing food for my family seemed like a noble cause. So this last year I decided to take action. Once the soil had been turned, the beds defined, the seed carefully planted, and the water applied, I waited for the little green buds to come bursting out from the Earth. And sure enough they came! Joy and feelings of satisfaction filled my heart. I had done it. I was a true gardener!

Pictures filled my mind of the zucchinis, tomatoes, corn, peppers, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, onions, and kale that would soon pour out onto our kitchen table like a beautiful Thanksgiving cornucopia. Grow little friends, grow! Your tender leaves, crispy stems, your hanging fruit, and hearty tubers will soon be mine! Moohoo Haha Haaaaa!

What I Didn’t Expect

But, oh, those moments of joy were soon turned to the bitter gall of freakish weeds, swarming insects, gluttonous birds, unmerciful wind, and nutrient-deficient soil. Yes, I had put in the effort to till, rake, sow, and water, but I had not anticipated the onslaught of the aforementioned plagues.

So where was my problem? My problem was in creating a garden which was way too big to manage. Or at least I didn’t make provision for the time and energy that would be needed.

It’s True! The Soil is Cursed!

I didn’t have access to copious amounts of wood chips, like suggested in the Back to Eden video, and as a result, weeds took root on every exposed inch of soil.

I did notice that the areas that had wood chips (see the picture above) were better off than the areas without (the light brown area behind me). Still, If you watch the video “Back to Eden” you’ll see that you need “greener” wood chips on top to keep the weeds down. My wood chips were already partially decomposed, and the weeds eventually invaded. A wood chip covering provides both the protection from weeds and nutrients to the plants. I had partial covering, and partial nutrients. Cursed Soil= 2 vs. Me= 1.

They Tag-teamed my Zucchini

I was glad to have some zucchini seed in the ground, but when its green broad leaves unfolded, orange lady-bug-like beetles (which I was told attack Taiwanese watermelons) rained down upon the unsuspecting plants and ravaged their tender leaves. Then, what little remained from their pillaging and plundering of the leaves was just enough of a sail to catch strong winds. The plant roots were nearly ripped from the ground. Finally, any zucchini plants that did produce, eventually turned to mush. Beetles & Wind=2 vs. Me=0

Stolen Gems

The strawberries met an equally devastating fate in the merciless jaws of flitting little sparrows. My eye would catch a glimpse of ripening red rubies encased in settings of brilliant green. But upon my expectant return to the garden on the following morn, as if coming to glean from my treasure chest, all that was left were the decimated and exposed remains of the strawberries’ juicy flesh, sparkling in the sunlight. Those were mine!! I probably got a third of the berries, total. Birds=1 vs. Me=0.5

Half-Hearted Attempts

Then, with the wounds incurred from the pipsqueak birds still lingering in my heart, I hung some netting over the tomato bushes (the netting wasn’t big enough to cover the undersides of the plants). The little sparrows were not hindered in the least, and still made sport of my ripening fruit. And there it all hung, behind cages of plastic netting, even more inaccessible to me, yet all the more tempting for those chicken-nugget-sized sparrows. Yes, I did manage to eat a few of the tomatoes, but they felt more like a donation, from the birds to me, rather than a reward for all my hard work. Birds=1 vs. Me=0.5

And the Verdict is…

True, I did get some jalapeños, carrots, peppers, and other vegetables, but the harvest was not what I had envisioned. A cornucopia it was not. Random handfuls of produce, it was.  I had survived the war, but the battles had left their scars.

Final Score: Elements= 6 vs. Me= 2

A Harvest of Another Kind!

But this story does not end in tragedy. As the Bible says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” (Rom. 8:28)  And now I take this gardening experience to be a wonderful harvest of lessons learned.

And what lessons did I learn from all of this?
  1. Starting something is always more exciting and easier to do than following something through to the end
  2. Starting small can save a lot of wasted time, energy, and resources
  3. Plan it out. Make provision for the time, energy, and resources required to complete a project… or don’t start at all!
    For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?Luke 14:28
  4. Know that God desires me to be faithful with what He has already given me (my family, my relationships, my time, finances, my work, etc.) before taking on more responsibilities
  5. Don’t expand or grow beyond what I can faithfully manage. If I seek to take on more than I can do well, then I will probably end up doing all things poorly, or at least neglecting some really important areas of my life
  6. Excellence with little is better than mediocrity with much

Dear Lord, please help me to manage the garden of my responsibilities well, and only expand when I have been faithful with what you have already given. Amen!


What do you think? What are some of the ways that you keep on top of your daily responsibilities, without letting things fall between the cracks? I’d love to hear from you below!

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