Monday, May 13, 2013

Gardening Season Here at Last

For awhile here this month, it felt like winter had returned with winter weather advisories around and highs in the 30's (which is very unusual for this time of year!) . . . yet now, spring has resumed in all its beauty. 

The trees are finally leafing out, the fruit trees have blossomed, the spring birds are arriving, and planting the main part of the vegetable garden has begun. Finally! It felt so good to till under the weeds that had started to take over the garden and to mark and plant the rows and plots (with some help from Mom and Leah with the latter. :) 

Part of the garden is all planted! I hope to till the rest and plant it this week.

As mentioned in this post, I had made a detailed garden map of what was to go where . . . only after losing all of the broccoli, cauliflower, and most of the cabbage plants to an unexpected hard freeze, plans changed! I didn't draw out a new map, but had a basic idea of what I was going to change and what was going to be put where. 

In addition to having a functional garden, this year I hope to make a pretty garden as well with flowers and herbs intermixed and different arrangements of plants instead of all straight rows or square plots (though we still have a quite a few of both of those.) It was fun to do! And I am looking forward to seeing what it looks like once everything is growing.

A long row of carrots . . . Leah helped me make the raised bed for them and plant them as well.

A new experiment for this year . . . a pole bean teepee! (made from some of the small trees we had cut down) with lettuce and spinach planted underneath and nasturtiums scattered around it.

As I thought about gardening, planting the tiny seeds, and about the amazing transformation those seeds were about to undergo, there were a couple of things from Scripture that came to mind. Do you remember in Scripture the parable of the sower and the seed (Luke 8:4-15) and how the word of God is compared to a seed? And how we are to plant those seeds . . . to share the gospel with others. I thought about the preparation that takes place before I plant in the garden . . . preparing the soil to make a soft soil bed, removing the weeds to prevent competition, removing large rocks, and this year, killing any grubs I could find . . . all so that the seeds will have the best opportunity to grow and flourish.

Is not this the same that we should be doing as part of the sharing of the gospel? Preparing the soil of hearts by answering the questions, removing the doubts, refuting the false doctrines and beliefs, upholding the authority of the word of God? Then the seed of the gospel is planted as we share with others the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we water that seed, and hope and pray that the seed will take root and grow.

"I planted, Apollos watered . . ." (1 Corinthians 3:6a)

The pure seed of the gospel brings life in a heart that receives it and believes it, and not as the plant seeds do with simply physical life, but eternal life in Christ. The seed brings life to where there once was only death! The Lord has entrusted these seeds to us . . . His gospel . . . may we be faithful with our trust and share this incredible good news of Jesus Christ with others!

There are so many spiritual lessons that one can glean from gardening, isn't there? I love all of the parallels that there are! And also the character lessons that one can learn as one deals with loss of plants, drought, too much rain, disease, etc. And speaking of those things, we lost quite a few of our red onion plants and some of the yellow onions to the aforementioned grubs that are in the soil (they eat the root of the plant so then the plant dies.) So in the empty spots, I transplanted the volunteer lettuce plants that had come up in the potatoes . . .

Interplanting is something I haven't really done before, and I have a difficult time thinking with that mindset and being creative enough to figure out how to mix what plants together, but from what I have read and seen, I really like not only how it works, but how it looks, too. So interplanting is something I am trying to do some of this year.

One of the surviving cabbage plants

Leah and I had planted a fairly large plot of potatoes last month, and slowly, slowly, they began poking their leaves above the soil and growing. There are still a number of empty spots, but we're hoping that they'll have plants growing there soon! Last week, I tilled between the rows and hilled the plants up some . . . .

So far the peas are doing really well! Mom has been 
 faithfully weeding and hoeing around them . . .

We had four crops that we overwintered this year: spinach, kale, scallions and celery. The spinach went to seed, but there weren't enough plants to make seed saving possible. The celery is doing really well, and we'll be able to harvest from the three plants soon . . .

The kale bolted and I'm going to let it go to seed so that I can harvest seeds from it . . . and it's nice as no other brassicas are blooming now so there shouldn't be any cross-pollination!

Not only are the kale blossoms bright and cheery, but the honeybees love them . . .

The scallions are going to seed as well and like the kale, I'll be harvesting seed from them . . . this will make the third generation of scallion seeds saved!

Over in the strawberry patch by the chickens, the ground is blanketed in little white blossoms . . .

We were pleasantly surprised and thankful with how many strawberry plants came back this year. The heat and drought last year were really hard on them so we weren't sure what the patch was going to look like this year! As it turns out, all the drought did was thin the plants out so we didn't have to. :) And now we're all looking forward to having fresh strawberries again!

My little perennial herb garden that has lavender, thyme and oregano in it is doing well . . . .

The Oregano

Besides garden photos, I captured a few other ones while I was walking around 
including this one of a curious hen . . .

She, as well as all of the others, have been enjoying the abundance of grass clippings and weeds that we've been giving them!

A view of our neighbor's pasture . . . the walnut trees still have a ways to go before they're leafed out

Four beehives again! One of the hives was so large that Dad and I did a split from it a few weeks ago. Shortly thereafter we had a cold snap so we were wondering if it would survive, and it did! All four hives are doing well, and we have four honey supers on them so far (and it shouldn't be long before I'll need to add some more.) Also in this photo is our rhubarb patch, blueberry bushes, and some of the goats in the background.

Our first ever apple tree blossoms . . . they were so beautiful!

This week looks to be a lovely one, and I look forward to hopefully tilling and planting the rest of the garden. It will be so nice to have it all in!


  1. I love this time of year, when it is warm enough for plants to leave the greenhouse and venture outside.
    What a lot of planting you are doing Sarah! We have , even in our small garden, potatoes popping up, lettuce and radish in the raised beds, and French beans ready to be planted out. Our Broad beans are almost a foot tall, so we are hoping for a few to freeze later.

  2. Beautiful, Sarah. I really enjoyed getting to meet you and your family last month.

  3. Oh everything is looking so good!! We planted some bush beans and I didn't think they were going to grow but praise the Lord they have pushed up and out of the ground! It's been so exciting to watch the growth! :) I like the idea of how you are planning your garden now! I am wanting and have been trying to do that as well. I'm excited to see how nasturtiums work this year. I have been watching some dvd's on gardening and they were saying how they are great to keep bugs away! So I thankfully was able to find a few at a local nursery to try! Can't wait to see how your garden does with the new plans! :)

  4. Wow, you've been working hard! I've really enjoyed all your last few posts. I've always found that interplanting is the best way to go. It confuses the pests' sense of where their dinner is; and the intermingled flowers help to attract the nice bugs. Variety mixed together is the way God made nature grow, and it seems to work the best that way. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes in your garden.

    It's late autumn down here. The trees are losing the last of their leaves - but there's still red and yellow drifting against the blue sky. It's so beautiful.

  5. It looks so enticing. I should garden but never seem to find the motivation. I hope those seeds grow and bless your family benefits from yourlaboura.

  6. I do as well, Elizabeth! It is my favorite time of year. Yes,we have been doing a lot of planting! :) Leah and I did a lot more today, too . . . tomato plants, celery plants, Swiss chard, mangel beets, regular beets, and yellow squash. We’re getting close to being finished!

    How exciting about the plants that you have coming up! I enjoyed reading what you shared. :) It is always fun to see the tiny seedlings begin poking their leaves above the soil! And to see one’s transplants finally in the ground as well. I hope that your garden does very well for you!

  7. Thank you, Tammy! We, too, really enjoyed getting to meet you as well. Thank you so much for coming!

  8. Thank you, Nabila! We’re excited with how well things are going so far. Now if it can just continue in the same vein over the next several months that would be great! :)

    That is wonderful about your bush beans! I am sure you were excited when you saw them finally coming up. I know the feeling when you plant something and don’t think it is going to grow and then it surprises you and does. :)

    I, too, had read that nasturtiums were good at keeping bugs at bay . . . I sure hope so as we’ve had some pest problems lately so I’m planting quite a few of them! Hopefully the nasturtiums you got will work well for you in repelling those pesky little plant eaters. :)

    I look forward to hearing about your garden as well . . . I hope it does very well for you!

  9. I am glad that you have enjoyed them, Rena! And likewise, I enjoyed your comment. :) I had read that interplanting helps to confuse pests, and hopefully it will in our garden, as well as the flowers attracting the good insects. It will be interesting to see how it all works!

    It sounds lovely where you are . . . I am sure you are thankful for the change of season after your summer. Autumn is a beautiful time of year and a delight with all of the different sites, smells and sounds! Enjoy!

  10. Thank you, Suze! Gardening does take quite a bit of motivation . . . and I’m grateful that we have a break from gardening over winter as it helps to recharge that motivation. :)

  11. Sarah...nasturtiums are also delicious in salads, and add colorful beauty to the dinner table. They have a slightly spicy kick to them. Try some!:-)

    ~ Betsy

  12. Thank you for the suggestion, Betsy! I was planning on it. :) And am looking forward to trying them!

  13. What a beautiful and inspiring site! So refreshing in these days!
    I really enjoyed you pictures and reading you lovely site!


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)