With all the wonderful weather we’ve been experiencing this summer, my garden has been gloriously prolific. Likewise, the lessons it is teaching me are too rich to be contained in one blog post. Here’s the continuation of a previous week’s lessons.
Tomato Cages and Parenting
I planted three different tomato plants this year, one much taller than the others. I should have placed cages around them as soon as I removed them from their little containers and laid them in the ground. A month or more went by before I finally purchased cages. By then, the tallest one resisted the cage like a moody teenager resists curfew. In my attempt to force one of its branches through the cage, I broke it off completely, losing a couple of marble-sized tomatoes.
When the next windstorm came along, it blew that tall plant over, cage and all. (Hubby says I should have stapled the cage into the ground with long wires. Now he tells me.) Too late to force the crooked, wonky cage back into the ground, I was left with no choice but to set the plant free from it. Except by now, some of the thicker branches were entangled with the cage. It wouldn’t budge. Finally, I just held my breath and yanked the cage straight up, surrendering whatever branches might break off. This time, I lost several golf ball-sized tomatoes.
Oh, the plant is still alive. It’s still producing. But it has not been and never will be as healthy or productive as the plants given their cage while still small.
Little children want boundaries. They feel safe knowing what the rules are and knowing someone will enforce them. When healthy boundaries are set in place early on, humans can thrive and grow and become all they were meant to be.
If you wait too long and try to play catch-up later? You will be met with resistance. It will prove far more difficult, and you’ll do a lot more damage. It doesn’t mean the person can’t still be strong and productive, but unnecessary pain will be inevitable along the way.
A Little Each Day…
If you’ve ever gone away on vacation during a garden’s prolific period, you know the pain of returning home to overgrown weeds, overripe vegetables, and dehydrated plants. It can take you days to return things to order. Plus, you’re wasting what would have been perfectly good produce if you’d been home to pick it. Sometimes there’s no reviving a plant dead from thirst, starving for nutrients, or choked out by weeds.
This is why good gardeners do a little each day. From the day they till the soil until they’ve pulled out the last dead plant in preparation for winter, the devoted gardener is out there. Weeding, watering, thinning, fertilizing, harvesting, and cleaning out what’s finished are far easier when done daily, bit by bit. You’ll enjoy a much healthier, productive garden.
This is true for your soul as well. A little time devoted to scripture and prayer every day produces more fruit than church once a week or a spiritual retreat once a year. Don’t choke out your soul with neglect. The weeds will gladly take over while you’re not paying attention.
Greener Where you Water…
We’ve all heard it said that if the other man’s grass is always greener, it’s probably because he waters it. This becomes even more obvious after a dry spell when your lawn turns brown while the neighbor with the sprinkler system is still enjoying lush green turf.
The application to our lives and relationships hardly needs mentioning. Marriages, friendships, and family relationships dry up with neglect. Watering takes effort. Make the effort. ‘Nuff said.