Today was a busy day around the parsonage. Next Monday is Memorial Day and the town’s parade route runs right in front of the church and the parsonage. I will be occupied for the next few days, so today was the last real opportunity I had to straighten up the yard before the parade. There were obvious tasks to accomplish (plant the garden and mow the grass), but there was another challenge that needed to be faced.
Last year was the first year where we had tomatoes against the side of the garage. We tilled up the ground, planted the tomatoes, and then quickly learned how much more prolific they were than we had expected. Each of the cheap metal tomato cages died an agonizing death over the course of the summer. The tomato bed was a real disaster by the end of the summer.
This year we made plans. We researched methods of controlling the tomato plants more effectively. We learned about something called the Florida Weave and planted posts to support the plants. We mulched the ground in the fall and put some good nutrients back into the soil this spring. We scrounged through the leftover stones from the church’s septic project and put a stone border next to the tomato bed. It looked really nice.
Unfortunately, the stone border was not very good at dissuading the grass and weeds that wanted to grow into the tomato bed. For weeks I’ve been consistently and constantly fighting back against the encroaching lawn. Today I decided that I had enough.
We were planning on planting the garden tonight and I had been wanting to start an herb garden. Unfortunately, we went a little overboard with starting seedlings this spring. There was simply not enough room for what we already had prepared to plant. I looked at the problem of the grass and the problem of not having a space for an herb garden.
I thought about a comedic science fiction audiobook that I had recently listened finished. In that audiobook, humans were colonizing another world and the creatures on the planet found them tasty. They built fences but the creatures burrowed underneath the fences. The solution saved the people was placing steel bars under the fence to dissuade the hungry aliens.
I was struggling with an aggressive plant which wanted to attack my colony of tomato plants. I needed space to plant herbs. I built a fence and I sunk the roots below the reach of the grass. I buried thin cinder-blocks on their sides. The grass couldn’t get under the cinder blocks. I filled the holes with dirt and suddenly I had room for herbs and flowers! I could make the border wall functional, effective, and pretty!
In the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Proverbs 19:8 says “To get wisdom is to love oneself; to keep understanding is to prosper.” Last year one of the best ways I loved myself was to learn that I had made a mistake when I planted my tomatoes without a plan. I took that wisdom, understood how I needed to change, made a plan, and now I have the hope that I will find a way to prosper with my tomatoes in this new year.
I do not know if the herbs will succeed in the new planter-wall. I hope that they will, but I will seek a spirit of wisdom regardless of the outcome. In the end, I hope that I will approach next year with understanding, wisdom, and an even better plan.