Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Garden - It's No Secret

Almost two years ago, as summer was coming to a close and in the midst of the economic recession, our stake presidency announced that they would like every family to have a garden and issued a challenge to all of us to get one. I remember that my husband was rotating out of state at the time, and I thought to myself that turning soil and hoeing rows was not the kind of manual labor I wanted to do. I also recall that we didn’t own even a shovel, and didn’t have expendable dollars in our tight budget. I didn’t know the first thing about gardening, but I thought that if I got some fertilizer and put some seeds in the ground, at least I will have been obedient, and surely some much needed blessings would come of that. My three kids and I went shopping for the supplies, worked late into the night, and our fall garden was in the ground by Labor Day. We planted an ambitious slew of vegetables – lettuce, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, peppers and cilantro, I think. A few weeks later, little buds were peeking through the soil and we were ecstatic. I thought to myself, wow what a blessing. Look at this great thing we achieved together! Now we are a little more self reliant than before (thanks to our obedience), and sacrifices really do bring blessings and miracles!

But the triple digit temperatures lasted well into October and within a few weeks, despite our incessant watering, all our pretty little buds had singed and died. I really felt something of a loss. Not only that my costly little investment of time and money had failed, but also that I had no testimony building experience to walk away with. I moved on to other obligations and left the garden alone.

Later on in the winter months, with no help from me, something green started growing in our garden. As it got bigger, I recognized that it was lettuce and I quickly reverted to daily watering and caretaking. Before long we had several rows of big leafy green heads of beautiful lettuce. The kids were as thrilled as I was. I showed my garden off to every visitor that came to the house. I had my happy ending after all! Apparently I had just needed some patience with my faith.

At the end of spring I thoroughly enjoyed a fruitful harvest. I loved the whole process of plucking, washing and storing beautiful bags of green lettuce in the fridge. We would have salad for dinner that very night! My husband was the first one to take a bite, and as soon as he did, his face puckered in a sour expression. Being an amateur gardener, I had not thought to taste the lettuce before I served it. The entire stock pile had a rancid taste and was not edible.

So that’s it! No botanical miracles here! But I did gain two things – a good laugh, and a determination to conquer gardening that borders on addiction. The following fall we tried again, this time in a shadier spot. We planted six varieties of vegetables, and the amount of produce I harvested this spring pretty much equaled a bag of baby carrots and one onion (all of which could have been purchased at Walmart for less than three dollars). But all were edible, and we savored them a little more for having grown them ourselves! If faith really does require patience and trust, then maybe the happy ending to my gardening story still lies ahead.