Aug 092012

This year I convinced my husband to let me have a garden bed. You see, we were given two four by four raised beds last year and we were going to plant then. Our plans got waylaid by the tornado that hit the weekend before we could get the plants (yes, I realize it was running late, but we didn’t have the money until then). So, since our summer was spent working relief, we didn’t get it planted.

This year, we nearly didn’t do a garden again. It was getting close to too late to put on in and we had several conversations about it and we never ended up on the same side together. We finally agree to go for it, but we would only do one. Well, we ended up with enough compost, manure and fill dirt for both so we ended up planting both. It was going to be great.

bright yellow tomato blossoms

I watered and weeded, took care of my plants (5 different tomatoes, a bunch of peppers, herbs and then watermelon and cantaloupe). I didn’t harden the plants off so they ended up sunburned. Yeah, learned my lesson there, so I had to build tents over them until they got more acclimated to the back yard.

Things were looking good. The plants were growing, the tomatoes were starting to get blossoms on them. Then something ate a rather large pepper plant down to the base stem and halved it’s height. We figured it was the groundhogs as it was too large for a little rabbit to consume in one evening. After that, I plant marigolds in with the vegetables and things seem to be going well.

A Serrano Pepper ripening on the plant

The hot peppers start really producing. And I mean really producing. I am not sure at all how many serrano peppers we have picked off our one plant, but it has been quite a few. We pickled three jelly jars of a mix of banana and serrano peppers. We then made seven pints of extremely hot salsa.

Then the drought and heat hit.

It got too hot for my tomatoes to set new blossoms. We haven’t had a good rain storm in a month and a half. Things started to wilt and dry up. Aside from my hot peppers. Those are thriving…

We get the baby watermelon and cantaloupes transplanted into the garden and they take off growing like weeds with the watering and epsom salts they were given.

We wake up one morning and I go to check the garden and something ate one of my watermelon plants down to the dirt. By this point, it had vines about twenty inches long. I transplant my last watermelon. Three days later the other big one was eaten down to the dirt. The following week, two of my three cantaloupes were eaten down to the base stems from being more than a foot long with beautiful leaves. I have one left with a bud on it.

I have had several peppers that get just about ripe and then start to rot from the inside out because of the heat.

Last week, I discover that one of my Cherokee Purple tomatoes finally looked ripe. I reach my hand to pick it, and I am immediately covered in ants. The tomato, larger than a softball, ripened then basically exploded on the vine and the ants had eaten a third of it overnight. A few days later, I discover one of my Arkansas Traveler tomatoes that was fine when I was out that morning did the exact same thing. I didn’t know that tomatoes could explode like that on the vine…

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this about me, but I’m rather a control freak. Just ask my husband (I don’t try and control him. I know that isn’t my place biblically). I like things to go as planned. However, gardening this summer hasn’t gone by my plan at all. Through it all, I am reminded that honestly, we as human beings don’t really control a whole lot. We can make decisions, make plans and sometimes they go the way we want. However, we truly don’t have the kind of control we think we do. We can’t control when our hearts stop beating. We can’t control what others think of us. We can’t control the effects of our decisions. Ultimately, God controls it all. From our first to final breath, the weather, everything. I am reminded of that every time I’ve been out to the garden. It isn’t lush, it isn’t producing a bumper crop. Yet, God is still on His throne and knows all about it. He will see us through. We just have to seek Him and His ways and do our best to honor Him with our lives. That’s all He asks. For God has plans that we have no clue about. Plans to prepare us for future work, plans to refine us to make us more like Him. Jeremiah 29:11 is quite clear. And even if the time seems painful, it is ultimately for our good. Not just in gardening, but through all of life.

Are you in a season right now where it hurts? Are you being reminded that you really aren’t the one in control? Remember, that even though it hurts right now, God is preparing you for so much more.

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