Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gardening: God's Abundance Spills Forth

I have returned to my wonderful husband and home after a romp through Iowa, with a foray into Madison, Wisconsin.  There, I took a class on gifted education, visited several of my bestest friends forever, and met new people and ideas.  My load of anarchist books was mighty and wonderful--I have reading material for quite some time now (not that I lacked before...).  Iowa City has several well-stocked, quirky used book stores; Madison has some of those but also some great book cooperatives that stock only the kind of books  I like to read (i.e. social justice screeds).  I saw farmers' markets in I.C., in Dubuque, and in Madison; all are lovely, of course.  I was surprised by how far behind Kansas their growing season was.  Our early spring salad greens are virtually over here and have been for some time.  There, they are in full spring lettuce season.  Kale was still a staple of the stands in Wisconsin and Dubuque, and my friends were just beginning to grow some; it is too hot here to easily grow, now.  About three or four weeks' difference, I would say.  

When my family went on vacations, my mother loved to visit different grocery stores and compare their selection, layout, etc.  Now, I mostly stay out of grocery stores during the summer, but like her I've become a connoisseur of food shopping options--this is really my favorite tourist activity--go check out the local farmers' market and organic food coop.  Madison's market circled around the state capitol building, and there was a vegetable garden planted along one of the sidewalks there!  I noticed some shops that had kale growing in place of flowers in front.  What a great commitment to fresh, local, healthy food.

Anyway, in my absence my own fresh local healthy food-growing area, my garden, flourished.  J. (dear husband) watered the wee little ones and mostly maintained them.  And wow, now that the summer heat has come, they have exploded!  My tomato plants have completely taken over the front of the house:  

Tomato plants spilling over onto the sidewalk 
 So they are busy making literally hundreds of tomatoes.  Gazpacho, salsa, tomato soup, tomato juice, pizza, tomato and basil salad, tomato and oregano salad, juicy hamburgers with thick slices of tomato...I can't wait!  Apparently, I sort of forgot how many cherry tomato plants I put in.  It appears that we will not be short of those.  I had my first ripe little tomato today and popped it in my mouth.  YUM.  
My little broccoli head!  I thought all the broccoli were
hopelessly dead, but I may get some florets out of them
at least.  This is actually a theme.  I thought the basil plants
were dead, so I planted two more.  Now I have five
healthy basil plants.  I kept thinking the cherry tomatoes
were dead, and planting more.  None of them are dead.

 To the left is a cucumber plant--this little guy is only a couple of weeks old, and already growing like a weed.  It's twirling vines up the sticks just like it is supposed to do.  I'm still surprised when it does that instead of dying.
 And here's a lovely little cucumber blossom.  Some people advocate for picking the blossoms and deep frying them.  While that is an intriguing concept, i hear if you let the flowers develop they turn into cucumbers and squash.  So I'll let them do that this year.

And this charmer to the left is one of the squash plants that I photographed earlier as a seedling.  They're getting so big!  I am so proud!

Anyway, all of this reminds me daily of the abundance God intended for our lives.  God created this bountiful nature, and yet we tamp it down and stifle it and pollute it; scarcity is not what God intended, poverty is not what God intended. The story of the Garden of Eden testifies plainly to a memory of a God who wanted all humans to flourish in freedom and plenty.  Gardens help bring just a little bit of that plenty back to fruition.

P.S.  If you want any basil or oregano or sage, let me know.  I have all three in abundance.
PPS  Check back in a few weeks if you want to sample some tomatoes :-)

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