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As a master gardener, one of the most common gardening mistakes that I see occurs each year in the spring.  People are tired of the cold winter weather and are tired of being cooped up. They’ve started receiving annual seed catalogs in the mail that are filled with beautiful pictures and promising plants and are ready for warm weather, so they can get outside and start gardening.

In early to mid-April, when daytime temperatures are consistently in the 60s-70s and nurseries begin selling plants, people begin to think about preparing the area in which they wish to establish their garden. In excitement, some even purchase seeds and plants without having their garden area prepared. So, what’s the mistake? Growing areas should be prepared long before it’s planting time.

Careful consideration and thought should go into the location of the garden area. It’s important to select a spot that gets just the right amount of sunshine and shade. The area needs to be free of weeds with access to a good water supply, protection from damaging winds and a place that has good soil.

Once you locate the right spot it takes time to prepare it for planting. The soil needs to be worked, and rows needs to be established. None of this work is fun to do when it’s winter time and it’s cold outside. We’ve just put away all of the Christmas decorations, no one is selling plants, everything outside is dormant, and it just seems too early to be preparing and planning for a spring garden.

I am guilty of this myself. My husband likes to tease me and say that I’m a “fair weather worker.” He says, “When the weather is fair, you’re in the mood to work!” And he’s kind of right. Even though we both work hard to prepare our garden spots year-round, I have to admit that sometimes I would rather wait until all of the conditions are just right, so that I can work in comfort.

Many times, this is exactly how we manage our relationship with the Lord. I’ve always heard—and you probably have too—that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Too often we fail to prepare our hearts to receive what God has for us by not abiding in Him during all the seasons of our lives.

During the storms and slow, cold seasons, when He is silent, it’s easy to fail to cultivate our relationship with Him because it seems irrelevant and takes effort to spend time studying His Word, praying and fasting. However, when the sun is shining and the wind is still, it’s easy to read a devotional passage and sing praise songs because we’re comfortable and the time seems right.

If we could just learn to walk in faith with Him through each season and allow Him to plant the seeds of His word deep within us then we would always reap a bountiful harvest in due time.

During these uncertain days, here are few things that are very certain:

  • Edible gardening in Oklahoma can be challenging, so failing to prepare your garden spot several weeks in advance makes growing in that particular spot difficult.
  • In Oklahoma, we actually have a longer growing season than most people think, and you are able to grow food for yourself during most months of the year by using simple season extending methods… but you have to plan.
  • Failing to have a plan in place to spend time with God through Bible study, prayer and fasting results in a walk that is not as fruitful as it could be.

In John 15:5 Jesus teaches us, “ I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” God please help us to abide, plan and prepare and we’ll be sure to give You all the praise for the bumper crop!

Lori Coats

Author: Lori Coats

Lori Coats is a Master Gardener, herbalist and mentor to young women, teaching them to love God and their families through gardening, food preservation and cooking. She’s spent more than 20 years working in Agritourism, horticulture, specialty crops and public gardens and owns My Raggedy Herbs, a teaching garden in Oklahoma.

View more articles by Lori Coats.

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