Springtime ads for gardens popped up in our newspaper and I decided to take the plunge. I convinced my husband to build an elevated raised bed planter so I wouldn’t use what energy I had, stooping and bending to plant veggies. Once he had it built he went to the Home Depot and purchased soil, compost, and plant food. Seeing the filled planter made me joyful, so we went back and bought plants. It didn’t seem like many when I had them in the dirt. Cucumbers, bell peppers, pepperoncini, zucchini, yellow squash, and one cantaloupe. I also bought two different tomato plants and seeds for radishes and carrots.
Fast forward several weeks and I had a jungle on my hands. My first attempt at raised bed gardening revealed my inexperience. Spacing is important. The cucumbers, zucchini, and yellow squash leaves are huge and they spread all over the other plants. My radishes and carrots didn’t stand a chance. The cucumber plant was quite prolific and my tomatoes were loaded (I did plant them in a separate wooden container). The yellow squash began blooming and produced several fruit but insects devoured them leaving me with only two edible ones. The zucchini fared better. My pepperoncini gave out nice peppers, and I’m still waiting for the bell peppers and the cantaloupe to develop. The tomatoes have started ripening and are so sweet.
Daily I inspect the plants, ready to wash away insects if necessary. I snoop among the foliage for hidden veggies, twist off yet more cucumbers, and snatch a couple more red tomatoes. Then today, a surprise! Hanging over the side of the planter was the beginning of my first cantaloupe, about the size of a lemon. How did that happen? I check that area every day, and there was even a growing cucumber close by. How did I miss seeing the cantaloupe as it started growing. My focus was elsewhere. Even passing that spot, I was looking for cucumbers and peppers. My search for cantaloupe was within the covering inside the planter, not hanging over the side. It wasn’t where I expected it to be.
My life has been crazy over the past year and a half. Much has been overgrown, crowding out other things. Things I planted seem to have taken root, but some covered up other areas, making it hard for me to see what was important. Hard, that is, until one day I looked and there it was, clear as could be. The fruit in my life, the love that God has for me, and His purpose for me. As God reveals who I am to encourage and come along side of, I will nurture, love, and care for them. To me, things might look haphazard in my life at times, but God is the ultimate Gardener and has it under control.
I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor and plan to continue my gardening adventure. I’ve learned to space things out a bit and not try to include quite so much in a small space. But God taught me to see through His eyes, not mine, and to keep my focus in the right place.