Sharecroppers or squatters??

I live for gardening. This is something that, had my father not usurped my spring and summer Saturday mornings as a teenager weeding the front yard rock garden I am sure I would never have much cared for. That I lost those precious time-for-me days to such a pastime in itself should have made me hate gardening for life. Another of life’s ironies I suppose.

I never cease to marvel at the miracle of my planting a seed or small sprout, or even buying a fully-grown plant at Lowes or Wal-Mart, and that it actually lives and grows. Or bears fruit if it is of such inclination. My first vegetable garden was ambitious. I was a young bride living in very rural Tennessee. I wanted everything, so I planted everything I liked- tomatoes, peppers, corn, cucumbers, squash… I planted both yellow and white corn, curious to see which would grow better. Not thinking of pollination I was mildly surprised to see both yellow and white kernels on all the ears. Tasted just as good. I also learned that different fertilizers produced different effects. The previous owner of our home had left a generous heap of chicken droppings. So I used it. Liberally. When I proudly told a neighboring honest-to-goodness farmer of my achievement he could barely breathe from laughter. Finally catching his breath he said, tears streaming from the outer corners of his eyes, “You’ll burn up the whole plot, that stuff is so hot!” I learned later what he meant was that form of fertilizer is so acidic it must be used sparingly. So from then on I used the offerings from neighboring cows.

From this humble beginning I now plant some of the same things, though I have a more civilized area in which to plant and do not require a tiller. And I have learned from experience that deer will eat pretty much anything so I now put tomatoes in large pots on the deck, along with okra and blueberries. The birds and I share the blueberries, not the tomatoes, and in the yard I plant spinach, squash, zucchini, eggplant and herbs. So far nothing, rabbits included, have partaken of these.

Something, however, is making good use of the other plants on the deck. I also have, more ornamental than anything else, bananas, lemon tree, avocado, coffee bean, more herbs, and a rose. Whatever it is, and I suspect it is a chipmunk that enjoys the birdseed, uses the potting soil in these plants to stash his sunflower and other seeds. He either has a bad memory or forgets all together because every so often I come across a tiny sprouted clump of baby sunflowers or wild grasses which I pull out.

At that point they aren’t doing anybody–  not the plant, nor me, nor the chipmunk  — any good.


Mt. 13:18-23, 31-32; Jn. 12:24-25; 1 Cor. 3:6; 1 Pet. 1:23


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