We Seek After
These Things
Recently returned from serving the people of Honduras for 3 years

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My View from the Garden

After one week of scattered sunshine and above average temperatures for this time of year in my community; my garden is free from snow! I can see the dirt, lying there, with almost an anxious look about it, awaiting the tiller and fertilizer which are always first on the list to get the spring gardening underway.

Does your family like to garden? There's never been a better time to enlist your family in a family gardening project, or revive a previous tradition if you came from ol' gardening stock. With the bad economic news surrounding us from all sides every day, there are more families cutting back, becoming more frugal, and just plain trying to "save" some money wherever they can.

I don't know about your opinion of the "Economic Stimulus Package", but just about the best economic stimulus package for most of us would be to develop a thorough gardening education. Each of us have the potential to grow a little (or a lot) of our own food, whether it be in containers on a sunny balcony or a full spread garden in the backyard. Once you try those flavorful home grown herbs and fresh tomatoes, warmed by the sun - you'll never want to go back to the store bought stuff.

Nearly three decades ago, President Spencer W. Kimball admonished the saints to gather their families around and plant a garden. His advice is still applicable and perhaps even more important today. He said:

“We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments … can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. Study the best methods of providing your own foods. Make your garden … neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities”
(in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 170–71; or Ensign, May 1976, 124).

When President Kimball asked each of us to grow a garden, he reminded us of the words of the Lord:

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
Luke 6:46).

Gardening has many benefits. It expands our appreciation of nature and the world around us. Even the creative period of the earth in general as we get down in the soil and physically touch it with our hands. It provides an opportunity for families to work together. Something that is frequently lacking in our world of conveniences today. When we have a garden that is producing fruit and vegetables in season; we are not entirely dependent on others for food. Growing our own food gives us the satisfaction of providing for ourselves, as well as providing a more nutritious diet. We have a greater opportunity to save money, help others and trade with fellow neighbors and gardeners.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind as you plan or design your family garden -

The first is location - growing vegetables requires approximately six hours of full sun each day. More would even be better. A loamy soil is preferable, but almost any soil can be made to produce with the addition of the modern garden soil enhancements available today. Those who want a larger garden can dig up portions of lawn or flower beds. Kits for raised gardens are available at local nurseries and online at many of the popular seed catalog companies. Some of my favorites are - Burpee and Park Seed Co. Those who live in apartments can garden in pots and containers.

A nearby water source is another essential.
For small gardens, containers and pots, hand watering may be the method of choice. For larger areas drip irrigation works well.

What to plant? If space is limited choose vegetables that grow upwards, climbing berries, pole peas and beans, tomatoes on stakes. Choose crops that produce a lot for the space they take up, such as squash or tomatoes, rather than those that produce a small amount for the space they take up - pumpkins, corn. etc. Making a map of your garden space helps put your available resources to their best use. Research what crops grow best in your unique climate.

If you haven't had much experience in gardening, you can find oodles of information online at state extension services, gardening blogs, and the seed companies. Look for information that is specific for your climate and location. Most communities have local gardening classes available at libraries, colleges, and gardening clubs.

What you waiting for? Get some seeds, some fertilizer and get to work! We can show the Heavenly Father that we love him and trust him by being obedient and doing as his prophets have asked us to do. Each of us will receive blessings if we plan and prepare for our gardens, and do our best to maintain them in an orderly manner.

Involve the whole family in the project and plan to have a successful gardening season.


Jackie said...

OH! I want a garden SO BAD!

I'm working on getting a house first, then I am for sure getting a garden!

Holly said...

I should have taken a picture of you pruning your tree so you could add it to your wonderful blog

Mrs. D Lightful said...

Thank you for the inspiring post! How refreshing! And thanks so much for linking up. Good luck on the contest!

susette said...

I love this post. I love to garden and it feels good to be doing something already that the prophets ask of us. This reminder gave me a little boost of excitement to get my kids involved more (something I haven't done much of in the past) They are big teenage boys and I think they are going to be enjoying gardening more this year :)

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