The fall seedlings have begun to sprout, and soon it will be time for thinning and replanting. I will admit, it pains me to thin out the extras to make room for better growth, and so I try to save as many as I can by replanting the tiny plants elsewhere in the gardens.
If you’ve never transplanted plant life, it can be a bit of a stress on the plant itself. Whether it is a hearty bush or delicate seedling, the transplant needs much care and water to survive the first several hours of change.
I am always in awe of how resilient plants can be if provided with enough care. They may wilt, they may struggle, but they wait patiently to be tended to by the gardener. Then one day, you look at the plant and it is no longer something stuck in new dirt–it has become life.
Change moves us to new spaces and places on our journey–we struggle, we wilt, and we wonder if we will survive. May we surrender to the great Gardener–the one who nurtures us with love and light and who brings us back to life again.
So back in late January, I got a wild hair to start seeds in all the extra mason jars I have filling up shelves. If you’d like to follow the journey from the beginning, you can read here and here and here. It’s been awhile since I’ve given you an update so I thought I’d check in and give you my overall evaluation of how the mason jars worked this year.
In short, I LOVED THEM!
They were easy to use. They were being upcycled. They did not include plastic that would leach into the soil. They were easy to tote. I could replant sprouts into bigger jars as they grew. Sun could reach all the soil and keep it warm.
And best of all, I could actually watch things grow from seed to sprout, from root to leaf.
As you can see by the photos, all the plants grew well–very hardy. The tomatoes and acorn squash actually required staking bec/ I didn’t want to transplant outside too early.
The two issues I will keep in mind for next year are:
- the soil will grow some green stuff (sorry, I don’t know the technical term for it) if it gets too moist
- when the plants gr0w an extensive root system, it is harder to pull them out of a small mouth jar–will only use wide moth next year
As for the starts, this is actually the most successful year I’ve had. I’ve raised so many of each variety that I’ve given several away. In early April, I actually decided to go ahead and start some 2nd round seeds so that I can have produce later into the summer/early autumn. I’ve also had problems in the past with bugs eating my cucumber or pepper seedlings when I start outside. Now, I have plants that can hopefully take care of themselves in spite of a few insects that get the munchies.
As you can imagine, I am thrilled! There’s nothin’ I love more than finding another reason to use my mason jars. Just remember to save a few–canning season is right around the corner!
Those of you who follow this blog know how deeply I connect my time on the farm with time spent with God. I believe as human beings we miss so many valuable lessons that can be learned in the simplicity of nature and creation. I also find that gardening and homesteading offer me quiet opportunities to meditate and pray with God. It is in those hushed moments when I learn the most about myself and my relationship with the great Gardener who tends my soul.
In the last couple of years, I have spent time maximizing the growing space in my yard, not only for the purpose of growing more healthy food but also for nurturing native plants. I find that the flat rock borders that I once placed around gardens have either been covered up by mulch or seem to constrict what it is I am trying to do. In the last few days, I have realized that I don’t need those boundaries. God doesn’t keep creation inside a rock wall, why should I?
As I began to remove the large pieces of stone, I realized something. I have grown from a gardener into a homesteader into a farmer and in the process, have let go of some of the “boundaries” that have enclosed me. Creation has taught me that growth happens in its own time, not in stops and starts based on mile markers like educational degrees or professional accolades. Creation likes a little flexibility and artistry, she cannot be confined by fences, stones, trees, or hedges. She winds her away around them or spills over the edge of them and continues to grow and produce.
Creation thinks “outside the box.” While she has a purpose, she’s also a dreamer. She solves problems but takes risks. She works with what she’s got but isn’t afraid to ask for more. She reaches beyond her limitations to continue the journey as set forth that first day the seed was planted.
I am Creation, and so are you. We are part of the garden God is tending to. We can hope and dream, grow and create. We just need to be willing to remove the stones from the wall or open the gate on the fence and grow forth.