I’m not sure when the first day of spring is. Never mind, whatever day the first poppy blooms, or a robin wings toward my rose arbor with a stick in her mouth, or a little girl in a sundress and white patent leather shoes dances down the sidewalk, those are the first days of spring. I like spring, but I don’t have allergies.
Around here, almond trees blossom first. It’s the only snow the Central Valley of California ever gets when they start dropping their petals. (Except maybe every ten years, for about a half hour.) The ground is carpeted in white, and people go into the orchards to take pictures of rejoicing.
Another terrific thing about spring is baby calves and lambs. All clean and jumping. Nudging their moms for milk and exploring their world. Soft to the touch and smelling earthy. And baby chicks are soft, too. I know you knew that already, but I would have been remiss to leave them out.
And then there’s turning on the swimming pool solar and checking the thermometer each day to see whether I can put in my toes yet. Brushing the conditioner and skimming almond blossoms off the top. Dreaming of the feel of the water rushing past and the Marco Polo games we’ll play.
And don’t forget planting the garden. The sweat of digging out the burmuda grass runners is exhilarating. Placing tiny seeds carefully and staking tomato plants, oh yeah. Holding the old man (a tender term) to only three screamingly hot pepper plants. Watering, scanning for new weeds, I love it!
So, let’s hear it for spring! Get out there and revel!
I have grown quite a few vegetable gardens since I started at about age nine. Stuff I’ve learned might be an interesting topic. For example:
- It’s fun to sing “In the Garden” while you weed, water and tie up the tomato vines.
- My father may have been right about cussing at the vegetables making them grow. I think I prefer cussing at the gophers, though.
- Gophers really love bean roots.
- Waiting until school is out to plant will make most of the vegetables ready after school has already started again.
- Snails like everything.
- Dogs and cats are messy.
- Working in the early morning can’t really be called working.
- A fresh anything is better than store-bought, or even farmer’s market bought.
- Don’t grow corn unless you plan to use the stalks because you only get one or two cobs and then what do you do with the rest?
- If you don’t water, it won’t grow.
- If you water too much, it won’t grow.
- You can plot stories in a vegetable garden.
- You can squish tomato worms in a vegetable garden, especially when someone has pissed you off.
- You can pray, with a lot of focus, in a vegetable garden, especially any time you want.
- Owning a vegetable garden is playing God in a sense, because you get to determine everything, what vegetables grow, which way the rows go, whether to chemically fertilize or mulch or use pesticides or go for organic.
- The knowledge of vegetable growing is transferable to younger generations.
- Sunshine is good for your attitude.
- Dirt between your toes builds character.
- You can garden whether you’re young, middle or old, but if you’re old you might want to get a garden bench to weed from.
- Wear gloves to till and rake.
- Do not wear gloves to weed.
- Weeds are fast.
- Weed every week, or you’ll be sorry.
- Tomato vines are kind of scratchy.
- If you’re the impatient type, fried green tomatoes are really good.
- Sometimes, vegetables won’t grow, no matter what.
- Bees are your friends, but mosquitoes aren’t.
- Plant the shade lovers in the shade, and the sun lovers in the sun.
Now I titled this Vegetable Garden Gospel, and you’re wondering where the gospel part is, aren’t you? Get ready, every single thing you do has Jesus at the center, from squishing tomato worms to cussing gophers to tieing up tomato vines. And that’s true, not just in the garden, but everywhere. So whatever you do, do all to His glory. I just kind of like hanging around with Him in the garden.