While spring is not quite around the corner yet, it is nearly time to begin thinking ahead … dreaming … planning for that lovely vegetable garden you will plant this year. It will be the next step at building your Provision Room. In this post, to go alongside our Provision Room series, we will talk over the idea of growing your own food for your Provision Room.
With soil under their nails and the look of hard work on their hands, I come from a long line of gardeners on both sides of our family.
Perfectionist gardeners, I might add (hello, father!) …
And while I do not have the green thumb or summers of experience of our parents, I am learning and trying to improve my gardening abilities.
I am in no way an expert! Every year I make mistakes with our garden and sometimes things just do not grow well for me. However, I do see the blessings and JOY of having a garden that produces food for your own family. When I was a child, once we did not have room to plant a garden on our own land so we borrowed land from a neighbour and planted a vegetable garden there. I think, in all the houses we lived (and we moved a lot), I believe only twice did we not have a vegetable garden. I have memories of weeding rows with my siblings in our garden, squashing those nasty, monster tomato caterpillars and helping snap ends of greens beans for canning in the summer. Summer day dreaming was an easy pastime for a little girl as she wandered between the garden rows.
A vegetable garden is an immense blessing for your family! Not only is it healthy, it provides a labour and work ethic that is easily lost in today’s immediate-gratification society. It is a wonderful family project that requires working together, sweating together and in the end, eating the fruits of your labour together!
If you do not have enough land to have a large garden, start small. Anything will help and any vegetables you grow will be a benefit. Perhaps you know of a friend who has room for a larger garden – you can always ask her and share a plot of land, sharing with the tasks of weeding, watering and caring for the garden during the summer.
As my dad says, if you have children, assign certain rows as their job to keep the weeds down and to keep it watered. Even little toddlers love to help water the garden.
This past summer, we visited a few Mennonite families and were absolutely astounded at the size and quality of their vegetable and even floral gardens. These tremendous gardens were each kept immaculate, not a weed in sight, despite the grand size of their family plots. The vegetables grew strong and healthy, rows were lined up with great precision and the soil was rich and dark. It was very inspiring.
As it is still winter, perhaps now is the time to sit down and think through what you would like your garden to grow.
Starting suggestions would be:
This year, we will be adding more cabbage, carrots and onions, parsnips and sweet potatoes. We planted a large plot of garlic this fall already.
Start your garden small or large –it will depend on your zeal and enthusiasm. I have found the bigger the garden, the more rewarding as it makes sense to have all your efforts pay off with a large harvest. However, if that is overwhelming, start small. Perhaps you can start with a number of tomato plants in pots, as it seems there is always a use for tomatoes. There is no limit or not minimum to your garden. Find what works for you and plant away. Before long, you may feel so inspired that the next year you will double your garden size. We have expanded our garden five times since moving to this current home less than four years ago.
With the availability of internet research, it is easy to find good advice for gardening. We are trying this method to help keep down the weeds. We are all praying it works.
Once you have started your garden plans, you will be dreaming of the spring and summer to come, no doubt. Don’t worry – it will be here soon.
Once your vegetables are planted and begin to, Lord willing, grow, you will be delighted to see all those tiny new sprouts and beautiful greens growing so lovingly in the summer golden sunshine.
You are well on your way to providing food for your Provision Room and for your family!
If you have missed the other posts in regards to building up your Provision Room, here are some links: