I was texting my father-in-law this afternoon as I was making up the meal plan and grocery list for the week. As is typical, we got on the subject of what each of us is doing in the garden. He planted a traditional row garden this year; tilled the soil, added in organic fertilizer, and balanced the soil pH, and then planted his seed. I raked aside the wood chips I had laid in the fall, and planted seeds in the dirt.
We talked about our tomatoes. He and I both intended to trellis with cattle panels, but time and money got the better of us and he went with cages and I intend to do the Florida weave.
Then we hit the hot button topic- Weeds. He mentioned that he layed down grass clippings around and between his tomato plants and it’s doing a fine job of keeping the weeds down…and what weeds do come up, pull out easily.
I couldn’t stand it… As someone who’s been trying to “sell” him on the Back to Eden style of gardening for the last two years, I finally hit my breaking point. I walked outside with my camera, (aka my phone) and took a few pictures to send him.
This is what I showed him…
This is my neighbor’s garden. Can you tell the plants sown from the weeds? Can you see how dry the soil looks, even after having received 4″ of rain this week?
…is my garden. Can you find the weeds? Do my plants look stressed?
Mind blowing, right? One guess which garden my father-in-law’s most closely resembles?
You know how long it takes me to “weed” my garden? 5 minutes, tops. No tools, no tiller, no aching back or knees, and no wasted space spreading my plants out far enough to pass a tiller between rows.
I get that seeing is believing in many cases. And that we are told so many things by “master gardeners” about not mulching directly around the base of the plant, or soil amendments, or irrigation, or pH balancing, or fertilizing, or whatever… My point is, there is ONE master gardener, and He created this universe and everything in it to function in accordance to His will and design. Boom. That’s all there is to it. The more we as human beings try to interfere, the more complicated we make things, and the more we tend to mess it up.
So don’t take a page from my book, simply take God’s word for it. Jesus says,
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Get it? You know you’re walking in God’s will when your yoke is easy and your burden is light. I’m not busting my tail making extra work for myself giving weeds a chance to take root. It’s sometimes the most counter-intuitive things that God uses to get our attention and draw us closer to Himself. Consider all the knowledge compiled by universities and cooperatives across the country that are putting in all these man-hours to grow community gardens and the community isn’t receiving nearly the produce it should from all these combined efforts! It’s foolishness, I say!
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
1 Corinthians 1:27
If you’re working your hind-end off and you aren’t reaping a harvest equivalent to the labor you invest, something is broken. Whether we’re talking about gardening or spirituality.