Gardening this year has been a real challenge! We got a late start because the weather was unseasonably cool deep into the spring. Then we got hit with a lot of rain right at planting time. As a matter of fact, we had to replant because so much of our seed washed away.
The summer heat came on fast and strong, and according to the National Integrated Drought Information Center (NIDIC), we’ve had the ninth driest July in the past 128 years. We have not had a good tomato or pepper year but other crops such as our cucumbers, okra and beans have gone crazy. Despite all of the challenges, God has blessed us with a lot of produce, and we have been able to preserve a lot of food.
We have spent the past few weekends wrapping up the summer season and preparing for the fall season. We plant our outdoor, fall gardens the last week of July through mid-August. This allows plenty of time for crops to mature before the first frost. The average first frost in central Oklahoma is Oct. 29. If you have not planted your fall crops and still wish to, it is not too late.
The window of time is closing but you can still get some seeds in the ground and expect a harvest. The Oklahoma State University fact sheet on Fall Gardening is very helpful. You can access it here.
For those of you who know me, you are well aware that the fall gardening season is my favorite. I enjoy the cooler temperatures and less pressure from pests and disease. Edible gardening isn’t easy, but fall seems to lend a helping hand.
I have talked with many gardeners this year, and over and over I’ve heard, “I’ve had it! I’m done! The extreme heat and lack of water has burned up my garden and I’m through messing with it . . . at least for this year.”
They have suffered. Their plants have suffered. Their soil has suffered, and watering is labor intensive and expensive. I understand and don’t fault them. The year 2022 has been a microcosm of many of our own lives— late starts, floods of disappointment and burned up opportunities. Many feel frustrated and ready to quit.
However, there are others who are very excited about the ending of one season and the beginning of another. They are ready to start all over again! Yes, they are tired, but the thought of raised beds full of colorful root vegetables, rows of rich greens, fall peas and tender herbs are just too much to keep them from pressing on.
Ideas of expanding or trying to grow something new they’ve seen in a seed catalog motivates them. The thought of putting up home-canned vegetables and delicious jams excites them. In their mind, hope and abundance are on the horizon. They are ready to pour into a new season and bring life back into a dry land.
Just as we see our gardens throughout the different seasons, God sees us in the different seasons of our lives. Some seasons are great and productive, others are difficult or dry. With each passing one He is not saying, “I’ve had it! I’m done. I’m through messing with you.” Rather, He sees the potential of what can become.
With great enthusiasm He is eager to plant, plow and prune hearts until the fruit of the Spirit is produced. Just as a gardener holds a handful of soil to analyze it, He carefully holds us in His hands. He understands that we are but dust and lovingly breathes life back into this depleted soil. Because of Him there is hope and abundance on the horizon.
May God allow you to see the seasons of your life as He does and not give up. He can make roadways in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
“Do not call to mind the former things or consider things of the past. Behold, I am going to do something new, now it will spring up. Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert” (Isa. 43:18-19).