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Reflection – Ten Steps to Starting a Vegetable Garden

I’ve recently started gardening and I’ve planted flowers and vegetables. I’ve found this to be a truly rewarding and satisfying hobby.  Even so, it’s not an easy one.  One has to think of so many things!  Where to plant, what to plant, prepping the soil, checking dates for the plants you’ve chosen, planting the seeds, watering, keeping the weeds out, making sure your plants have room to grow, fertilizer(?) and of course, reaping what you’ve sown.  Honestly, these ten steps seem really easy but it takes much work and effort to keep a garden growing, daily small efforts to keep it strong.  All my gardening tips come from today’s Gospel reading.  How great that Jesus knew exactly what I needed for my garden to prosper.

Jesus talks to us in the parable of the sower about a person going out to plant seeds.  Some fall out and birds scoop it up.  More fall out on rocky ground and as the plants grow, the sun is too hot for them and they burn and because of poor soil conditions, they weren’t rooted so they withered.  Other seeds fell and grew with thorns (I’m guessing weeds?) and because the thorns were stronger, the seedlings were choked and didn’t survive.  And then some other seeds fell on great soil and produced much harvest.  So like any great commercial real estate agent will tell you, “location, location, location” is key to growing a strong garden.

Where are you growing in your faith?  What are you planting and are you planting it near thorns, or in bad soil where your faith has no chance to root?  How are you prepping the good soil that you have?  Are you adding in fertilizer and topsoil for “extra” nourishment.  How much care are you using to plant your seeds?  Are you like the sower who just apparently dropped all of them little by little as he was walking around?  Or are you intentional about your selected location?  How much watering are you doing?  With this heat wave we’ve been having, I’ve needed to water my plants twice daily, once really early in the morning and then again late at night when the sun goes down.  So when you’re in your hot times, how much watering do you need and do you take the time to do it?  Keep the weeds out!  This is also a daily effort, when I first worked my soil, I had to pull out all the weeds along with their roots in the beds I had designated for my vegetables, this took me two days per bed.  I had to dig deep for some of them.  How far do you need to go to pull out the weeds at their roots?  Hurt, doubt and fear seem to always root to quickest and deepest, pull them out and believe that your heavenly Father has got you!  When in doubt, pray; when in fear, pray; when hurt, pray; when in happiness, pray and give thanks!

In which seed category do you feel you fit in?  The ones that fell on rocky ground?  The ones that were choked out by thorns?  How about the ones that were swept away by birds and then eaten?  Or do you feel like you came from the ones that were planted in rich soil?  I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter which category you “fall into”.  Having read this parable multiple times, I can honestly say that I was part of the seeds that fell on rocky ground.  But I became a gardener and worked my soil and my seeds (for years!) and today I reap what I sow and keep planting and watering.  Don’t let your hearts grow dull.  Keep your ears open to listen, your eyes wide to perceive and your hearts full of love so that you may understand.  You, too, can be a gardener.  I know you have it in you!  May you harvest much and produce the fruit of eternal happiness.

Katy Mahoney

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