12. Harvest Lessons

The results of my poll were overwhelmingly in favor of me writing more about our garden. And by “overwhelming” I mean, two people voted for me to “Get back in the garden!” and write more about the varieties of vegetables we are growing.

Harvest du Jour!

Harvest du Jour! September 1, 2013

This time of year some plants are dried and brown. Sometimes I feel like cutting them back but then I remember it is almost fall, so I change my perspective and suddenly

They are fall decorations!

They are fall decorations!

So ugly So festive

So ugly So festive!

Allowing plants to completely brown and dry out encourages them to produce seeds, and send all the nutrients back down into the roots of the plants (in the case of perennials).

Yardlong bean pods drying out

Yardlong bean pods drying out

Yardlong bean seeds

Yardlong bean seeds

Last year we had a horrible drought and we went without rain for something like 40 days. During the drought I learned that grass goes dormant during periods of drought and though it turns brown and looks dead, it actually takes 60 days without rain to completely kill grass.

The corn to the left of the teepee is quite dried out

The corn to the left of the teepee is quite dried out

It has been hot and dry the past week and the soil has that ugly tan look. Even though Spy Garden Paint was kind of a joke, I am seriously considering whipping up a batch to improve the garden photo shoots haha. In more colorful news…

Delice de la Table melon

Delice de la Table melon

How do you know when a Delice de la Table melon is ripe? It blushes slightly with a peachy yellow and smells fragrant (like a cantaloupe). It is chilling in our fridge and we will cut into it tomorrow!

A little Jack be Little pumpkin

A little Jack be Little pumpkin has appeared!

I thought a nice Spy Garden tradition to begin would be to do a little gardening-related devotional on Sundays. So many of the hymns in our hymnal at church allude to tilling, sowing, and harvesting, which makes sense because there are about seven million lessons to be learned in a garden and the Bible often uses gardening/farming stories to illustrate lessons.

And doesn't this sky over Spy Garden today just scream "Aren't I awesome? Love, God"

And doesn’t this sky over Spy Garden today just scream “Aren’t I awesome? Love, God”

Luke 12:22-25 says “…”Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.”

These verses follow the “parable of the rich fool” (Luke 13-21) a story about a man who grew a bunch of crops, had an abundant harvest and then built barns to store the food in. After that he was thinking, sweet, life is good. I can just relax now, my work is done. But just because we have a bunch of food or possessions or money does not mean we are “all set” or “good to go”. Anytime we start feeling a sense of security based on things, we can get really disappointed when that balance is upset.

Now how can I apply this lesson to our garden?

I am planning on making seven quarts of pickles tomorrow with lemon cucumbers. I never set expectations of what I will harvest and what we will be able to eat from the garden. This is mostly because I am relatively new to gardening and don’t have much of a basis for comparison. For example, even though I planted 25 tomato plants, in the back of my mind I was prepared for the possibility of 25 tomatoes. Or zero tomatoes. This approach may reflect my lack of knowledge and past challenges and failures but really it is a good way to approach life.

Blooms! On the giant cape gooseberry plants!

Blooms! On the giant cape gooseberry plants!

This is the third year I have tried to grow giant cape gooseberries from seeds and this is the first bloom I’ve seen! Isn’t it more fun to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed because of arbitrary expectations? I mean, I know the point of planting seeds is to grow a plant, but since I have never seen a giant cape gooseberry it was an experiment without much of a hypothesis.

This is the giant cape gooseberry plant. The leaves have tons of tiny holes from flea beetles

This is the giant cape gooseberry plant. The leaves have tons of tiny holes from flea beetles

So back to the notion of “expectations”. We shouldn’t garden expecting a perfect harvest. We shouldn’t go to our neighbor’s houses expecting to be fed, entertained or served. We should be striving to see how we can serve our neighbor. Continually striving to improve ourselves (and our gardens!); never trying to “pile up” our assets so we can “call it good”. The last time I made pickles I (somewhat accidentally!) ended up giving them all away to friends and neighbors who visited the garden. I think I gained a lot more in giving them away than I would have eating them. It is just so fun to teach people something new and share what you enjoy with others. We should use our “harvests” (food or otherwise) to improve other peoples’ lives without expecting anything in return. Of course, I am not advocating against preserving food! Just encouraging an approach that values the many components of the experience. Joy in sharing is a lesson that can be far more valuable than a jar of pickles!

6 thoughts on “12. Harvest Lessons

  1. The Belmont Rooster

    Great post! You will have to tell us what your favorite melon is. The giant cape gooseberry plant looks like some species of Datura. The flea beetles like them, too. Is your Cape Gooseberry a Physalis peruviana.

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Thanks! The Delice de la Table is definitely my favorite. The only other type we grew was the Tigger which was awesome in appearance but nothing spectacular in taste. Oh and Orangeglo was the watermelon we grew, which we did like. Yes, the gooseberry is a physalis peruviana! If it fruits, I will be sharing more about it in a future post! ;)


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