Sunday, January 8, 2012

What color is your thumb?

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." John 15: 1 & 2

I have read this passage so many times in the past 20 years and have only had a generic understanding of it, until the last several years.  When I started trying to grow plants, flowers, veggies, and fruit trees, I really saw the underlying meaning.  If you have ever planted a seed or nurtured a seedling to fruition, you know that it requires tender loving care.  It can be growing beautifully one day and the next day the temperature can change while you are at work and you come home and find a shriveled and unrecognizable excuse for a plant.
I will not claim to be an expert on growing anything and I am a novice at best, but I have learned a few things.  Living in southern MS offers a few challenges that tempt me to drive my lawn mower over the whole mess and buy my veggie plants right before producing. 
This year, I am considering all of my options to ensure a healthy and productive crop.  I try to be as frugal and efficient as possible while getting the maximum results.  This spring I will be trying out row covers to keep our hot July/August days from frying and stressing out my crops.  Last summer was extremely hot and several of my plants could not tolerate it.  Also, I fought an enormous infestation of squash bugs.  I will need to make an investment this year to prevent a repeat event.  I also want to try "lasagna" or "mulch gardening".  This may be less torture on my back than shoveling and hoeing.
I also have one 3 year old and two new 1 year old plum trees to prune this season in hopes to have enough plums this year to make at least 1 jar of jelly.  Last year I lost a plum tree to disease right before blooming and my other tree was left solo and unpollinated for the season.  I do not even want to discuss the 4 blueberry bushes that I planted that turned brown and all of my berries wrinkled like raisins.  I bought two from a nursery and two from a local department store.  The two from the nursery showed symptoms first and then it spread to my other two.  I was told that blueberries were hard to kill, but apparently they were not referring to me. 
There is just something special about digging in the dirt, planting a tiny seed, watering it, and picking a full-grown vegetable that feeds your family.  I just don't get the same revelation at the grocery store picking fruit out of a bin.  It gives me a deeper glimpse into God's plans for us and how gloriously amazing He is.  I love my God and I am always looking for his awesomeness in everything around me.  I want to be a good steward of His blessings and give Him my best effort in this earthly life.  I look forward to the day when I can sit at His feet and see His beautiful gardens all around without bugs or rotten fruit.  Gardens that grow with only a breath and a word.  Until then, I must plan and toil to the best of my ability.
I have been reading magazines and watching gardening videos to better prepare me for this spring.  I will be more than happy to share the stages of my gardening with you in hopes of getting tips and reducing failures.  If you have any expertise on the subject, I am open for any and all help to be a successful gardener.  I pray this planting season will be rich in love and my thumb will turn to a nicer shade of green. 
God bless you and good night,
Marla B.

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