in the last week, i’ve planted three kinds of basil (one is purple!), cilantro, green beans and a pepper plant. no action yet, though. i am amazed at how such a tiny seed is supposed to produce something that i will later eat. here’s a picture of the teeny tiny basil seeds.



the rest of the garden is coming along nicely. the strawberries are starting to flower and the lettuce looks like little baby lettuce instead of a dinky weed.

i’m having fun keeping track of it all and i am already anticipating sharing my first round of tomatoes and making purple pesto!



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we got a special edition of time this week featuring a big red x through bin laden’s face. the first picture in the article “Obama 1, Osama 0” is striking to me. looking at the faces of the people in that picture made me so grateful that the biggest decisions i have to make in a day are often whether or not to let joanna “cry it out” or to “rescue” her from her crib. some days i have to make bigger decisions than that, but not day after day or (probably, for the president) several times a day. how exhausting.

in that particular article, joe klein put words to some feelings i’d been having about the whole trump / birth certificate thing. that ordeal seemed so silly to me and left me discouraged about people in general – how can anyone lead a group of people without wanting to quit out of exaspiration? how can someone lead the country, let alone a church, or a family (or a football team…i’ve been watching a lot of friday night lights) without giving up? anyway, here’s what klein said:

“…the president opened at the white house coresponsdents’ dinner on the night before bin laden was killed…his decimation of donald trump, who sat in the audience, was brutal. he marveled at trump’s decision to ‘fire’ gary busey instead of meat loaf on his celebrity apprentice show. ‘these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. well handled, sir.’ the audience didn’t know it at the time, but two nights earlier obama had been kept up trying to decide whether to launch the seal team against bin laden or take the stealth-bomber route. (here’s what struck me) a president lives at the intersection of historic decisions like that one and a media environment in which donald trump can make outlandish claims about the president’s birthplace – and shoot to the top of the republican polls. the distance between those two worlds is mind-bending.”

i think that is what’s bothering me, these intersections. not really politically (i don’t pay much attention to that), but between the kingdom and the world…good and evil. me choosing to follow jesus or not. right now, i just want so desperately for jesus to win now. for him to come and make all things new. i know he has already in many ways, starting with easter (current favorite line in a song: “o church come stand in the light, the glory of god has defeated the night; o church come stand in the light, our god is not dead, he is alive, he is alive.”)

i think the place for me to start is praying for jesus to give me his love for people. praying that i can see the bigger picture (or at least want to) with people as a whole and also individuals when they don’t meet my expectations – which most the time i don’t meet either.

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it may be a smidge early, but i couldn’t resist planting tomatoes this weekend. if it’s going to frost, i can cover them or even dig them back up and bring them inside for the night. we got the “bonnie” brand from home depot (by two get one free, so they were around $2.40 a piece). i chose an heirloom variety, a small tomato called “juliette” which my granddad planted last year and loved, and a typical tomato “bonnie’s best” or something like that.

bonnie's best, heirloom (it'll be pink and black stripped), and the tiny juliette

in the square foot gardening method, you can have more tomato plants (one per square foot) if you plant vine (or indeterminate) varieties, rather than bush (or determinate). most are actually indeterminate so it wasn’t hard to find ones that i wanted to try. in order to support this vine crop, we had to build a vertical frame at one end of the raised bed. we chose the east side so that it wouldn’t shade the flower bed around the deck or the rest of the square foot garden.

we bought two pieces of steel electrical conduit (about $2.18 for each 10 foot piece), had it cut at the store and then bought 90 degree connectors so we could join the top piece to the sides.

dean assembling the frame

we bought 18 inch rebar and used it as stakes (the frame just slides right onto it).

hammering in the rebar stakes

once we got the frame in place, we tied nylon vegetable trellice netting to the top and sides so that the tomatoes have strong support that won’t cut into the vines.

it didn’t take long to assemble it (it did take a little while to locate all of the thing we needed at home depot though…) and i think it’ll definitely get the job done!

finished product!

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cool weather crops

a couple of weeks ago, i planted lettuce and spinach. in the square foot gardening method, you can plant four lettuce seeds in a square. so, i used a pencil to poke four holes in one square. then i took a couple of seeds and dropped it into each hole. then you water. and wait. i planted two squares with lettuce. in another week or so, i’ll plant another square with lettuce in hopes that it will mature a few weeks after the first round. it took about a week and a half and then….

it sprouted!! i was on my hands and knees for a week looking for any signs of life. we had a really heavy rain and hail the night i planted the lettuce and i was convinced that it had ruined it and i had failed before i even got started. but as you can see (sort of) that was not the case! all the lettuce has started to grow and i thinned it out so that there are only four plants in my lettuce square.

the spinach (nine per square) has also sprouted…things are looking good!

two weekends ago, i purchased strawberry roots from the grass pad. i got 48 plants for $12. they’ve really perked up since we planted them. mel says to watch for the runners and cut them off as they grow to keep all the energy in the parent plant. i’ll try to keep up. i love strawberries so i planted three rows of four squares with four in a square. maybe ambitious, but i love strawberries enough to freeze them or perhaps learn to make strawberry jam. at the very least i can just give them away, right?

planting the strawberries after soaking them in a bucket for an hour.

looking better after a few days.

and finally, a picture of the protective cover / cage…

protecting the strawberries.

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dirt and stuff

after we prepared the space and box, it was time to add the soil. mel (the square foot gardening guru) says to use a three part mixture: vermiculite, peat moss and compost. we had to call around to find the biggest bag of vermiculite (grass pad for $20), peat moss is sold everywhere and my dad got free compost for us from the city landfill. yay! we mixed it all up a little bit at a time then watered it down.

next, i marked the boards all around every foot. then we hammered in a nail on those marks and tied some hot pink twine around it to create a grid. it looks really pretty now.

the final prep step that day was to make the wire cage that keeps critters out, especially when the plants are young. we bought cheap 1×2’s (small enough to sit on the frame of the box), nailed them together (with really tiny nails) and attached chicken wire to the frame with a staple gun (i really like staple guns!). we used zipped ties to connect the pieces of chicken wire together then cut off the ends…so that it looks pretty. and it really does!

mixing the soil

worn out already

pretty pink grid!

you can see the chicken wire cover in the background. forgot to get a good picture of that.

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my square foot garden

when i was little, my dad had a garden in our backyard. i remember picking green beans and the time the raccoons ate all the corn the day before we were going to pick it. i refused to eat spinach for awhile because one time i found a slug in my home grown salad. and now, i’m ready to grow my own slugs…

i’m using the square foot gardening method (it’s supposed to be simpler than a traditional garden because it’s more compact – you can grow a bunch in a square foot, you won’t really need to weed because it’s a raised bed and you have made your own “perfect” soil mixture – which also means you don’t have to test your soil or enhance it). this book was recommended by a dear friend, so i got the book from the library, thought “i think maybe i can do this…” and called my dad.

my dad and dean built the frame (4×8 feet long and it holds about six inches of the soil mixture). after the guys put the frame together, we removed the grass from the area where we were going to put the box, then cut a weed cloth to the 4×8 foot size and stapled it to the box. i really like using a staple gun.

phase one done! next up, the soil, the grid and the protective cover!

Joanna helped too.

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romans 4:17

God “gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

God makes something out of nothing. man, is that a hopeful thought. if i stop to really think this out, it makes me want to cry it’s so beautiful and hopeful. and true? i want it to be true…i think it’s true.

not only does this remind me of genesis 1 – god speaking things into existence – but it forces me to look at myself and the things that do not exist within me…

i am really covetous lately (not so much of my neighbor’s husband, i like mine a lot), but just walking through my neighborhood looking at houses that are bigger than mine or gardens that are better makes me see all the things that i don’t have (instead of all the things that i do have). can God really call contentedness into existence in me? can he make my eyes, and more importantly my heart, quit wandering around looking for the next best thing?

i think he can.

i wish conversion wasn’t such hard work sometimes. i wish my heart would just hear him call out and immediately obey. not just in this matter, but in all things. i am grateful he keeps calling. i think i’m waking up.

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