Learning to garden: A repentance from laziness

A couple weeks ago, while listening to Wendell Berry, I decided to stop waiting for the ideal situation and start planting a garden.

I’ve realized something about myself since that day. I like to do simple things. Tasks that require hands on practice. And not much research or technical skill.

Gardening seems like it should be pretty straight forward. Take a seed. Put it in the ground. And water it. But it turns out there’s more to planting a productive garden than simply pressing a seed into the earth.

There’s a need to know about the climate where the garden is planned. There’s a need to know what grows in that climate at this time of year. There’s a need to prepare the soil. And to learn what preparing the soil means.

And so, I suppose like anything one is new at, gardening requires learning new skills. And I think that’s why seriously undertaking planting a garden scares me off. I’m lazy. I don’t want to have to research what the soil is like in the “low desert” of Arizona. ( I had know idea the area I live in is called “low desert” until I started researching how to plant.) I don’t want to have to spend weeks preparing the soil.

But I don’t want to be an expert couch potato either. And so today is week 2 of my repentance from laziness.

Last week I researched and asked questions. Planted herb seeds in a little indoor greenhouse tray. Marked the 12 x 5 foot area in the earth where I decided to plant. Shoveled goat and chicken droppings and scattered them on my garden plot. Watered it daily. And didn’t plant anything.

This week, I tilled the soil. And took my neighbor’s advice (she’s an expert gardener), added more goat droppings and covered the area with wood chips from her yard. Watered. Put up a chicken wire fence around the garden. And planted nothing.

Through the week I’ll keep watering. And maybe on Saturday or Sunday I’ll plant the seeds the experts say grow well in Arizona’s low desert this time of year.

I’m tired now. My back is sore from bending and hoeing and digging and raking and squatting. I’ll sleep well I’m sure.

Laying here about to die to the day. I can’t help but think about the grace that gives us God’s work to do. Seed planting isn’t the only or even the first work. The labor is observation, learning, asking questions, listening, praying, caring, and waiting. Then the seed is planted. And then it’s God’s turn.

“I planted the seed of the teaching in you, and Apollos watered it. But God is the One who made the seed grow.”

1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:6‬ ‭ICB‬‬

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