In 1918, George married one of his customers, Mary Barrett, and eventually moved the company to Greenwood, South Carolina, her hometown. The company continued to grow, becoming a fixture for gardeners all over the country, until 2010 when the recession finally hit home and Park Seed declared bankruptcy. Blackstreet Capital acquired the company on August 23, 2010, rescuing it financially, along with Jackson & Perkins, best known for their roses, for $12.8 million. Park Seed Co continues to send out its catalogues and furnish gardeners with all their needs. This pair of gardeners is thankful to still have them around. The vast majority of our seeds and supplies come from them.
We plant a lot of tomatoes in our garden. We have learned by trial and error that it is far better to plant more than you think you can possibly use of several different varieties. Some years one type produces better than the others. Some years one will be wiped out by a disease that doesn’t touch the others. Usually there is neither rhyme nor reason for any of it. By planting several types, we can be sure to have some, if not all, bear fruit, and by planting too many, if it’s a bad year, we still have enough. On the other hand, if it’s a good year, we can be generous with friends and neighbors.
We have also learned which types work best in our area. For a long time we could always find what we needed in plants, but gardening has become the fashion now, and just like clothes, certain types of tomatoes are popular, and practicality seldom has anything to with it. You used to have to search far and wide for heirlooms. Now you must search far and wide for the ordinary hybrids. The problem with heirlooms, at least in our part of the country, is that they bear about 5% as much as the ordinary hybrid. We usually plant 90-95 tomatoes to fill our needs in fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salsa. If we used heirlooms exclusively, we would need to plant nearly 2000.
If we can’t find the reliable varieties of plants in the garden shops any longer, we can find their seeds in the catalogues we receive. It’s a lot more trouble. In our small home, we have to use the entire back bedroom to lay out the seed sponges and set up the grow-lights. When they outgrow the sponges, they are still too small and delicate to place outdoors and the weather still too cold, so we have to transplant each one into a larger cup—all 90, one by one. Then, when the weather finally turns, we have to carry them outside every day, a little longer every day, to harden them for the final transplant into the garden where they will be prey to sun, wind, insects, birds, and animals. Because of our careful preparation, most of them make it. We seldom lose more than half a dozen.
All that because fashion has taken over in gardening instead of common sense and proven track records. It happens in every area of life.
Don’t get me started on the organic craze. People had been eating organic foods for thousands of years when Jesus came along and there were still plenty of sick people for him to heal and raise from the dead.
Everyone knows how music changes. As far as our songs in the assembled worship, we are seeing a whole lot more rhythm and a whole lot less depth in the words. Or, “Wow!” someone says—usually someone with a music background—“this one actually uses Dorian mode!” Yes, but can an untrained congregation sing it easily enough to focus on the lyrics and actually do some “teaching and admonishing?”
Teaching has its fads. We gave up phonics and wound up with “Johnny Can’t Read.” In Bible classes we stopped teaching Bible facts to our children because we wanted them to develop the “heart” and not just the knowledge. So now we have ignorant people tearing churches apart over things they should have been taught as children. We used to be known for our Bible knowledge—now many of us are as clueless as any unbeliever on the streets.
Yes, some things are changeable, and I have agreed with most of ours. However, those things should be carefully weighed not only for their rightness, but also for the sake of pure old common sense. Do we want to do it because it will work better for this group of people, or because everyone else is doing it? Some of us wind up planting 2000 tomatoes just so we look good to the world, when 90 of the right kind would do just fine, probably better, at fulfilling the need.
The seed is the word of God, Jesus said. Maybe it’s time we used the seed instead of chasing around looking for something new and exciting. God’s way works, but only if you know it, and only if you use it.
Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them. Hosea 14:9