I started seeds. I put them outside. They got sun scorch.
I started new seeds. I bumped my phone charger. It literally broke off the stem of the only survivor.
I tried pea seeds. I planted the pea seedlings in my garden. A bunny chewed the top off every pea plant.
I started SUNFLOWER seeds. They grew! I planted them in the narrow space between the garage and raised beds, anticipating them to grow tall and lean.
I walked the rows of the garden center just caddy corner from our home. I put the seedlings of cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and zucchini in my cart. Hey! The zucchini look like my sunflowers….
I wove chicken wire along the edges of my garden to prevent the bunnies from eating my new plants. I watched the sunflowers turned zucchini get so big they pushed the wire aside.
I planted my plants from the garden center. Two feet apart for these itty bitty plants?!? I think not!
Yep, that’s it. That tangled mess of vines and plants. That huge bush that takes up one entire half of the plot of dirt, yeah those are tomato plants. Cucumber tendrils wrapped around pepper plants. Zucchini protruding straight into and over the fencing. Yep, that’s my garden.
It’s true this is my learning year, my first year owning a home and first time planting my very own vegetable garden. I have learned a lot about what to do better next year as well as a lot about what NOT to do…
- Plant zucchini and pumpkins from seeds, not tomatoes or peppers…buy those from the garden center (unless you can get them from Cody’s students again)
- If you do plant tomatoes and peppers from seeds, do NOT put them in direct sunlight at the first glimmer of springtime, they will be scorched.
- Cucumbers are a vine.
- Bunnies LOVE pea plants.
- Use chicken wire to protect vegetable from said bunnies
- do NOT put the zucchini close to the chicken wire, DO put cucumbers near it so they can wrap their little tendril arms around the fencing and not your pepper plants.
- Buy less plants (or increase the size of the garden) and FOLLOW the recommended spacing…it’s there for a reason.
It’s hard for me not to kick myself when I look at my garden. Every time I go to my car I see it and it bugs me! When Cody comes with me, I make a comment. “Can you believe my garden? It looks terrible! Can you help me fix it? It’s so ugly!” I’m an amateur when it comes to gardening and I’ve had to remind myself over and over that I’m just learning.
I wish that when I walked outside, I saw a much more neat and orderly garden. Who am I kidding? I strive to run my life by the neat and orderly! It’s no surprise that I’m having a hard time extending grace to myself for my tangled mess of vines, vegetables and weeds because I have a hard time extending grace as I navigate the snarled and overgrown areas of my own life. My mother once told me “everything tends toward chaos” and she is right. Laundry. Cleaning. Cooking. More cleaning. Weeds. Lawn. Paperwork. The car windshield that’s been cracked for months. Burnt out lightbulbs. All tending toward chaos.
In the summer-time I like to play catch up with all of the things that have become overgrown or are untended in my life. This summer, it’s prepping for the upcoming school year, getting a baby room together, scrapbooking the ticket stubs, wedding programs, and pictures from the year before, etc. Now that it’s July, and I know August and Back-To-School ads are just around the corner, anxiety has snuck its creeping coils around my heart convincing me that there just isn’t enough time and I’m not going to get it all blooming in manageable array before the year begins. Tonight, as I finished creating cute garden markers (that I’ll probably have to save for next year, because let’s be honest they’ll get lost in my patch), it dawned on me, my jumbled and disordered garden still produces fruit! I can still produce fruit!
I am currently reading The Shack, by William P. Young. Sarayu, the character for the Holy Spirit, maintains a garden that from the human perspective looks unkempt and disorganized. Mack, the main character, in all his humanness says to Sarayu, “It’s a mess” and to his surprise she responds, “Thank you!” without a hint of sarcasm. In the end, Mack comes to understand that this garden is his life, just as my garden has been a gentle reminder of my own life. Even when my life’s garden is at it’s messiest, most tangled, seedy, and disordered, I can step aside from my scraping and weeding and raking and let the Gardener work out the details. I am free to live loved, rest assured that I will grow because of what he has planted in me, blossoming in the knowledge that I can produce fruit even in the chaos.