Sunday, July 20, 2008

Garden 2008

After last year's rain, we looked forward in great anticipation to this year's garden. Plus, after 2 years of planting in rows, we were going to try a different and hopefully improved way of gardening, that being double dug beds. The term "double dug" essentially comes from digging down 2 shovel lengths so as to loosen the soil. This, plus adding compost, supposedly makes it a much better seed bed for growing. Here are some pictures of that process:




Don't let the smiling face fool you, it's actually some pretty hard work: ;)




Here's after both layers are dug, with the bottom layer refilled:




And here is a picture of the "compost" layer with the top layer partially done (our compost pile right now is a definite work in progress):




Here are our first graciously granted provisions of the garden from the before-Spring plantings:




Here are some potato "seeds." For a typical potato, apparently you can slice off a portion of it, especially a section with an "eye", plant it sliced-side down, and it will grow. Here is that process on top of the double dug bed's first and compost layers, with a little dirt on top of that:




Now, supposedly that planting strategy doesn't work for sweet potatoes, but here is a picture of the current bed, and most of the plants here are sweet potato plantings:




Varmints

This year we faced a new foe in battling garden pests: rabbits. Apparently over the winter, they lived up to their reputation, because we discovered that there were quite a few of them running around. And they found themselves their own personal "Farmers' Market", and proceeded to help themselves. Well, sorry Mr. Bunny, you can't be taking our food; and so, the battle lines were drawn. I was confused as to how they were getting into the garden, given we have 2"x4" welded wire fencing around it. But I did find some places where the wire was broken; and from us having pet rabbits before, I know they can snake themselves through tight areas.

We started to be on the lookout for them, especially in the mornings or evenings; and the Lord granted my shotgun and me several triumphs, one even in the garden itself. I also began putting up chicken wire around the bottom of the fencing. Over time, it appeared the victory was ours; and we haven't seemed to have any more trouble with them since.


The Water of Life

Part of moving here was to work on a process of becoming less dependent on the world for its provisioning and to place ourselves directly under God's providing hand. And so, I had decided that, as the Lord graciously allowed us to set up infrastructure, that, when it seemed that what was needed was going to be available based on normal averages, we would "cut the cord" on that area of world dependence. Well, with the working well and based on the rain "norms" for the area, we had arrived at that point a while back; and I had made a decision that we would in our best efforts live off of water here on the land (even off of the ponds, if necessary), and let God provide as He deemed sufficient.

This year, the Lord in His wisdom has not sent the kind of rain we had last year. This affected not only our catch water, but seems to have our well also, in that, it mostly stopped working except for very little amounts. And so, with ourselves, our chickens, goats, pigs, and new fruit and nut trees (which apparently need to be watered pretty consistently their first year), we had pretty much only our catch water to sustain us (and thankfully Michael allowed the cows back onto his land for the pond that is there).

And so, with the well not working, and given the current amount of water we had, I decided that we had to "pull the plug" on watering the garden. Here is the garden a couple of months ago:




And here it is now:




This is what happens when you don't have water, which translated spiritually means that this is what happens when you don't have the living water that comes only from Christ: you die.


As the only catch-water we had was used and got lower and with the well mostly unavailable, it was an interesting time, as the water situation was pretty much constantly in the back of our minds.

However, the Lord is gracious and merciful! He began to replenish our catch-water system and has been faithful to provide for us so that we have been able to continue to live off of His direct provision. Our catch-water tank never ran dry, and we have been able to maintain ourselves, the animals and trees.

Since then too, God has granted us a new catch water source (about which we hope to post soon) that He has graciously filled with some water; and so, I thought that we might have water sources now to be able to try to water some of those garden plants still alive, and we did the other night using the well (which had quite a bit of water in it, given it hadn't been used in probably over a month).

The Lord is gracious in His provisioning, and we are grateful. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

-- David

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