Keep good company

People often ask me if companion planting is a real thing and does it work. My answer to that is yes and yes. The idea of companion planting is to strategically locate your crops for the purpose of increased pollination, pest management, maximizing space, creating host plants for beneficial insects and to increase the overall productivity of your garden. It requires some intentional thinking and effort, but it works.

In Loise Riotte’s famous book Carrots Love Tomatoes she wrote, “Plants that assist each other to grow well, plants that repel insects, even plants that repel other plants—all are of great practical use… Vegetable growers find that companion planting provides many benefits, one of which is protection from pests.” The bottom line is that some plants greatly benefit and become well-protected when they are planted and grow in the presence of other specific plants.

This is also true with the company that we keep. Prov. 13:20 tells us that, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” There are times when we have to make an effort, but choosing to position ourselves around Godly people sets us up to resist evil, bless others, increase our productivity and maximize our fruit bearing.

Be humble

In the garden, the bright, red tomatoes, plump ears of sweet corn and big, orange carrots tend to take center stage. However, when it comes to nutrition the typically discarded, little-talked-about, bitter, carrot greens (the top part of the carrot) are one of the real heroes! These seemingly insignificant greens contain about six-times more vitamin C than that of the root and they also contain a lot of potassium, calcium and other phytonutrients.

They humbly exist and, most of the time, end up in the compost pile. However, to the one who understands their value they are a real treasure. I Pet. 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” Luke 14:11 tells us that “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” If we resist the temptation to seek the recognition of men but rather live to serve God, by serving others, we will be exalted at the proper time.

I’ve heard it said that the true test of servanthood is if you act like one when you’re treated like one. It’s not our nature to enjoy being treated like a servant and be lumped in with the unrecognized and unmentioned. In the garden, there are many plants that go unnoticed but have much to offer and thousands of tiny, beneficial insects that are necessary, but no one knows that they’re even there.  Both quietly exist fulfilling their roles and are vital to the success of the garden.  May we take joy in serving and living humbly.

Constant renewal is necessary for flourishing

During a growing season, soil can become depleted of nutrients and require amendments for revitalization. Preparing your growing area before the next planting season ensures that it performs at its best. This is a process and requires you to remove some spent plant material and add rich compost and other living organisms. If your garden is in pretty good shape this practice isn’t terribly time consuming but is a discipline that will produce big results.

In Rom. 12:1-2 we read, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  God’s Word has the ability to renew our minds, reveal truth and revitalize our actions. In order to flourish for the Lord in this fallen world, it is critical that we discipline ourselves to the daily reading of His Word and ask the Holy Spirit to renew our thinking.

Lord, help us learn and apply these simple truths!