Winter Garden Lessons

We talked a bit about how we came to do gardening in our About page but what is not mentioned there is how much I have come to enjoy gardening and how much I feel it has been teaching me. As I have been spending time this past Fall and Winter getting the garden beds ready for next year and ordering seeds I have thought more about what it is that I like and the things I have learned and am still learning from it.

Gardening has made me better at making decisions and committing to them. A weakness of mine in making decisions is that I tend to over analyze. I am pretty good about gathering information and making an initial decision but I sometime get nervous about it and want to delay until I can minimize as much risk in the decision as possible. Last year when we moved into the house we had no garden beds and no idea where we would put them or what they would be like. After staring at the place for a while and looking online at what others were doing I thought that raised beds were a good idea, you can see the beds in an earlier post here. My idea was based on something I had seen online but I really had no idea if it would work here and I was pretty nervous about starting it. Rather than get caught in my typical trap of analysis I decided to go with this approach and see what happens. I have learned from gardening that mistakes are not the end of the world. Some things will grow in these beds very well and others won’t but what I need to do is observe and adjust rather than over analyze up front. Even if I make what people consider to be very bad gardening mistakes I will have plants that grow. They may not be as productive but they will grow. Nature finds a way to move ahead those genes.

Gardening has forced me to be more patient and focus on hope for the future. As I was putting these beds together in the late Summer-early Fall of last year I was excited to see the result and I was pretty confident that the approach would be at least somewhat successful. I completed constructing them and then the excitement fell away as I realized I was going to have to wait until the following Spring or later to see the real results. This has forced me to temper the excitement and instead focus on something else, hope. Gardening is largely about hope for the future. When I am putting garlic bulbs in the ground in Fall that will not be ready until the following summer I have to have hope. I hope my plans are good, I hope I chose appropriate plant varieties, I hope the weather will cooperate, I hope I can protect the plants from pests over all that time, and the list goes on. Some of the hope rests on me and my actions like the variety selection and I have an ability to affect the result. Much of the hope I must have though is on things completely outside of my control like the weather or predators and pests. This forces me to realize that I am not in control of much of the world around me. This realization, for me, refocuses my hope to a higher power. Romans 15:13 is a prayer for hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

I have found that gardening, and many other efforts around the farm for that matter, allow me to “abound in hope.” That seems to be a very healthy way to live and changes the way I think about myself and my relationship with the world around me for the better.

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