Be a Sower: Lessons Learned from a Garden

April 30, 2018

My mother always had a small garden.  In the summer we could just go to her garden and pick what we wanted for supper.  One of my first jobs was working in a friend's HUGE garden.  I would get up every morning and ride my bike to the garden, ready to help pick corn at 5:00 in the morning.  I don't really have a green thumb and am not good with plants, unless they're plastic and need no water or sun.  But I could pick beans and green peppers and whatever they told me to do.   The best part was just being with friends and getting our feet in the mud.  Sometimes we would take a break and crack open a watermelon and eat it right then and there.  I had no trouble sleeping after a long day working in the garden.  

My Mr. B and I had talked about growing a garden for years, but just never got around to it.  One reason I was reluctant is because I knew from experience how much work they were.  I think My Mr. B's reason is he had never had a garden and wasn't sure where to start or what to do.

Then a few years ago I decided a garden was the perfect project for my "faith" value at church.  Remember those ribbons I talked about?  My Mr. B said he would get the garden spot ready, but was quick to point out it was "my" garden.  I interpreted that to mean if it was a flop, it was my flop.  A couple of friends who professed to have gardening experience wanted to help.  So we picked out plants and seeds and planted our garden.  That was actually the last time I saw my friends in the garden.  I'm guessing they don't like weeding any more than I do.

The garden was not pretty.  In other words, I didn't always get weeds pulled and keep my rows nice and even.  But it was a bountiful garden.  We had corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, squash and lots more.  It was too much garden for my little project, which only required that I spend 10 hours working on it.  For example, every afternoon I would pick a 5-gallon bucket of cucumbers. REALLY!!  I kept it going through the summer, but when the garden was done, I was done.

But wait - My Mr. B was hooked.  He started planning HIS garden for the next year.  Our family and friends have really enjoyed his gardens over the years.  My daughter thought is was so much fun digging for potatoes.  She said it was like looking for Easter eggs.  She loves to grow things.  At one rental house she was so excited to grow vegetables, tomatoes and peppers.  Now that she's in a smaller condo, she still grows her own herbs.  She got that from her dad - and I'm so proud of her.  It's wonderful to have fresh produce all the time.  Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches are a summer time staple at our house.  We also have orange, grapefruit and lemon trees.  
She doesn't like that her dirty feet show in this picture, but I do.
These were sunflowers that she requested for the garden one year.

This year for the first time My Mr. B had a winter garden.  There was cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, onions, mustard and collard greens.  I'm still not much help in the garden.  But I'll cook anything that comes out of it.  My Mr. B's gardens are beautiful and take a lot of hard work.  One year for Christmas I had a friend paint him a sign that says, "Barry's work hard - eat well garden."

What have I learned from gardens?  When you work side by side with someone it will form a lasting friendship.  I now know that My Mr. B is all that and more - he can plant the seeds, nurture them and feed his family.  I still like to think I have a garden.  It doesn't have vegetables or fruit in it, per se.  My garden is full of friends.  That garden I worked in when I was young - those people are still my friends.  My friends that abandoned my first garden - still very close friends.  Just like My Mr. B's garden, my garden of friends need to be nurtured and watered.  I want my friends to know they are special to me.  I may not see them all as often as I want, but when I do they always bring sunshine and joy into my life.  My garden is far reaching, and it warms my heart.

What kind of garden are you growing?


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