Last year I grew my first vegetable garden. Being a teacher, of course, the first thing I did before I planned my garden was to become educated. I bought a book about organic gardening, but more than that I lwent to a seasoned gardener's house for a lesson. She taught of the importance of preparing the soil so that the plants have every healthy opportunity to grow and produce fruit.
At the conclusion of my lesson, my husband and I decided to create an 8X8 raised bed so that we could better control the soil quality. After many, many bags of gardening mix and mushroom compost, I planted the baby plants. Though the heat of the Georgia summer, I lost a few plants and had a few that didn't produce vegetables, but had an abundance of onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. I had a few zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, and cantaloupes.
I feel great about controlling the soil and knowing no chemicals have touched my vegetables. For pests, my gardener friend suggested spraying a little dish washing soap and water on the plants periodically. For birds, she suggested placing dollar store windmills in the garden. She encouraged me to be in my garden every day to check on the plants, watch for bugs, and pull the occasional weed. "A gardener's shadow should cross the garden every day."
Our hearts tend to be like the garden. When we tend to them, watching for pests or other distractions, we are walking more intentionally with our heavenly Father. If we take one or two weeks off, we open ourselves up to trouble. There were things I planted last year that were unsuccessful, just like life. I will try to improve my skills and correct my mistakes each year. I will forgive myself for my failures, recognize the hope in my garden, and, with God's grace and forgiveness, move on toward a new harvest.
My Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the lessons of a garden. We praise you for the blessing of clean vegetables. I pray for your continued blessing over the upcoming year in my garden. Lord, thank you for reminding me that my heart is like a garden. Holy Spirit, remind me to tend carefully to it and to watch closely for intruders. In Jesus' name we pray!