Friday, June 25, 2010

Gardening 101

I learned a lesson this week. Since this blog exists so that eventually I will remember our days which pass by in a blur... you get to read all about it!

So what was this great lesson I learned? To stake my tomatoes. See... my plan was to put my little tiny tomato plants in the ground, and surround them with tobacco stakes and wrap those stakes with twine. If I do that, then once a week I just need to walk around my garden and put the branches that are growing outside the twine, inside. Easy.

Well, life happened (as it always does), and I planted my tomatoes, but didn't get to the staking part. The tomatoes have been sprawling, and I have spent my garden time the last couple weeks trying to stake up all these big tomato plants.

Tomatoes don't like being told how to grow. They want the freedom to take over the garden and grow where they want. They get good thick stalks growing along the ground, then grow roots there. I try to get them up the stake, and well... they just don't like that. Some of them broke, and some of the fruit broke right off.

See- if I were to let them grow along the ground they would only have about half the fruit as if I stake them up, protect them, and train them where to grow and where to bear their fruit. So, because I know better than a plant (most of the time), I spent a huge amount of time putting the plants in their places.

I live in a part of the world where gardens are not uncommon. I pass lots of beautiful gardens as I am going shopping or to church. These gardens are free of weeds... their tomatoes growing nicely, and I can tell they wouldn't dream of haphazard placement of rows, bean poles, or anything else. They are a wonderful sight to behold.

And as I am out sweating in my garden I cannot help thinking how much my tomatoes are like untrained, unmannered children... growing whichever way they want. It doesn't take much observing to see that there are many, many unmannered children. A quick run to Stuff Mart will give plenty of examples. Yet I wonder how many people who would not dream of allowing their tomatoes to grow wild allow their children to do just that.

Proverbs 29:15- The rod and reproof give wisdom. But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. (NASB)

Why is the shame ours? As mothers we are the ones with our children the most, and it truly is a shameful thing to see a child get whatever they want. We need to stake them close to us... guiding them into the ways they should go. Then they will bear fruit which does not bring us shame, and which glorifies our Father in Heaven.

I highly recommend the book, "Raising Godly Tomatoes" The website has a lot of info, also. It is hands down the best child raising book I have ever read. Because if I lose some tomato plants, or they don't grow as well as they should, it's just a tomato. But if I lose my children, it's effects continue for generations. Raise them carefully. Raise them well.

And please, whatever you do, do not have a spotless garden while neglecting the training of your children. Accept a few weeds and be sure the children are supported and growing correctly so they can handle the fruit they will produce.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Knock Knock... Is Anyone There?

Once again, the busy-ness of life has taken over, and this poor blog has been sorely neglected. So what, besides 10 children, a husband, and the running a household of 12 would possibly be keeping me busy?

Let me explain. No, it's too much. Let me sum up.

1. Canning, Canning, Canning. We have canned and frozen tons of fruit.

- 7 Gallons of Blueberries were turned to 20 pints of jam and 12 quarts of frozen berries.
- 8 Flats of Strawberries were turned to 24 pints of jam (which didn't gel too well, so it is almost like syrup) and 30 quart bags in the freezer
- 2 bushels of peaches made 20 pints of jam and 12 bags of puree for shakes and baking.

And the best part... see the front of the picture... the stuff that looks like pink grapefruit juice? Well... I couldn't stand to see all those peels go straight to the chickens, so I boiled them, added half the sugar of jam, and some gel to make it a little thicker (I could have just boiled it longer, but I was in a hurry to get it done that day), and canned 24 quarts of peach syrup! We used a pint of it when making oatmeal the other day and they say it was delicious. (I don't eat oatmeal. It's a Mama's perogative.) This can be used on ice cream, pancakes, or anything else we want. DELICIOUS!!!

2. Our garden is taking a lot of time, since we had s much rain at first the weeds went crazy. It is finally back under control. We are getting green beans and starting to get cucumbers.

The sugar snap peas have come and gone. We didn't get anything from the broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. The Kohlrabi was wonderful with some lemon pepper sprinkled on it. Another we tried with garlic oil. Yum, Yum. I will def. plant more next year.