Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cultivating Soil & Sowing Seeds--Part One

I have been spending too much time thinking over what to write about next. Lots of ideas floating around my head on the topics in the title of this post, but every time I started to write I ended up thinking "no one is gonna want to read this farmer's almanac or mini sermon either." And so I would delete it all and turn the computer off.  After a busy weekend, some minor disturbances (the basement flooded, the car died, etc) and a lovely Easter, I am determined now to get a few ideas typed out here....

As most of you know, or by now can guess, I am really interested in gardening--flower beds, other plants and shrubs, and especially my veggies! Something I take more seriously than my outdoor actual gardening, is my "Christian Gardening". (yes, I just made up that term)  The Bible says, "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord" and gives plenty of gardening related lessons as well, so why not put that all together with something I enjoy besides! Makes sense to me!  So, you are getting some of both!

The first thing that must be done before anything can be planted, is cultivating the soil: get it ready to receive the seed, break up the hard ground, let in the light and water, and remove the weeds.

You can see in this picture the rototiller my dad and Bryan picked up last year at a yard sale--it's an oldie but goodie, strong, runs good, barely used (the paint was still on the tines) and had a great price besides! The rototiller is extremely useful for making a new planting area where once there was none; it can really dig in there and get the hardened soil broken up, weeds up rooted, and applications mixed in.
"Burial Mounds"  Raised Planting Beds
  For existing garden beds, machine tilling is not always necessary and can often times do more harm than good.  For example, instead of long narrow rows all parallel in a field, I prefer to have raised planting areas (which my family teasingly call my "burial mounds") creating deeper looser soil therefore allowing roots to grow deeper and more easily. Aggressive tilling here would not only make a mess of my fairly symmetrical and organized garden, but would ruin the soil structure, as amendments have been carefully added only to the planting areas leaving narrow trodden down paths for walking, and earthworm activity would be disturbed (once we get them in there we want them to be happy and keep doing good things for our dirt!)

Another handy tool: the garden rake
 To keep these existing raised beds tidy around the edges and the surface loosened for water absorption, warmth of the sun and weed removal, I like to use a rigid garden rake. Standing on one side of the row, I work my way along drawing up any fallen soil from the pathway on the opposite side of the mound.

Matthew 13:1-23 in the Bible gives account of the parable of the sower which Jesus used to teach the crowd that had gathered and His disciples as well.  The lesson teaches of the Sower (Jesus) scattering seed (which is the Word of God) on much varying areas of soil (illustrating our hearts and responses to God's Word) and the resulting harvest.

Let us be sure that the soil in the garden of our hearts is not hard and callused; Or full of the rocks that surface and keep us from being deeply rooted in the Word of God; Or full of weeds, other things that grow in the way and choke out our fruitfulness.  Lord, I pray that I would be a good gardener, cultivating my heart into good ground to receive Your Word, and each day grow more Fruit of the Spirit in abundant harvest.
"But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."     Matthew 13:23

Coming soon:
Cultivating Soil & Sowing Seeds--Part Two
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully"  2 Corinthians 9:6


  1. Very nicely put...I really need you to come to my house and plant me a beautiful garden btw...

  2. Loved your post Dianna! Great parable to include here!

  3. Thanks girls! Stacey, really, if you need some help getting gardens started at your house, I'd be happy to take a look sometime! I have no idea what your yard is like, or what you might want but we certainly could get it figured out if you're serious... just let me know...