People often tell me that I must have a green thumb, usually when I hand them a bag of excess produce from our garden. Well, I do admit to having grown up on an Ozark farm, having two sets of grandparents who were farmers, and parents, too, who gardened heavily. But, if a green thumb is a genetic trait, it seems to have skipped me.
Our first garden was in the deep rich soil of central Illinois, a no-fail situation. But that and three years in the Piedmont of South Carolina did not prepare me for Florida. “You must not like tomatoes much,” the old Florida farmer said when he saw a dozen plants—all we’d ever needed to eat and to can in other places. Things just do not work the same in this Florida heat. We learned that we had to plant nearly 100 tomatoes to get what we needed. That “green thumb” came from lots of weeding (or “grassing”) as hoes simply are useless here. Chop off the weed and it will grow back and the chopped part will root with all the rain and humidity. We weeded by hand and carried them out of the garden in buckets. I read books (nothing written north of the Georgia line is of much use), I talked to farmers and other gardeners, I observed commercial operations.
I tried new ideas provoked by all of these. But, above all, I over-planted. I figured that in a bad year, we might still have enough for us; in an average year, or even in a good year, I never had a problem giving the excess away. Two different years after we thought we’d learned, we lost most all our tomatoes, once to a soil bacteria and once to too much rain. We planted corn in 3 or 4 different patches in hopes that one or more would produce well, and to spread out the harvest. Too much rain burst tomatoes and watermelons and washed the flavor from cantaloupes. The soil here has no nutrients, fertilize and then fertilize again and again, or harvest puny crops. We moved the garden spot about 100 yards and had to learn over for we went from a too wet soil to a garden that is wilting two days after an inch of rain. I seriously considered getting a mule to help me drag hose, I was watering so much.
That “green thumb” people attribute so casually sure came with a lot of mistakes and sweat. Probably anyone who will put in the labor and the persistence to learn can have a green thumb.
“I wish I had your Bible knowledge,” people sometimes say. Most of them could. It came exactly the same way the “green thumb” came. Study and skull sweat. Outlining sermons and Bible classes in my head while weeding that garden or splitting firewood. Teaching and having someone take me aside and explain the Word more perfectly. Researching and writing articles carefully so they would not bite me 20 years later (Pay heed those of you who are quick to post on fb).
I try to give it away but they say, “Your classes are too deep,” those who have been on the pew for decades. I go to the prison and inmates who never heard Jesus except as a curse hear the same teaching gladly.
The green thumb came because it was grow it or be hungry. Maybe if people understood, really understood, not just the “right answer” kind of understanding they give in church, that Bible knowledge is more critical than eating, they could learn too.
Work not for the food that perishes…..
I am the bread of life…..
As newborn babes long, you long….