Learning to Grow


A couple weeks ago, we decided to go to a local seed swap, despite not having any seeds to swap. While our garden did ok, I did a terrible job of keeping and labeling the seeds from the fruits and veggies we did grow. So off to this seed swap we went. It was amazing.

All of these gardeners with years more experience than us, offering to just give away their seeds because they want to see more people gardening. 

Because I have a hard enough time keeping veggies alive, let alone flowers, those seeds were what I stuck to. And as I came across a table with probably a dozen types of peas, I grew more and more excited. Peas are my absolute FAVORITE vegetable, but I failed miserably in getting them to grow more than about 8 inches. I got maybe, maybe a dozen pea pods that promptly went into my mouth. 

So I had to ask: "How did you do it?" 

The old gardener said "Huh?" and cupped his hand around his ear. So I raised my volume just slightly. 

"I couldn't get my peas to grow, what did I do wrong?" 

"Ah!" And with a twinkle in his eye, pea by pea, type by type, he told me exactly what to do. 

This kind - wait until May 1st, no exceptions. They can't stand even a little chill, but love the heat. 

This kind - water it a lot, and often. 

This kind - leave it alone and it'll produce the best crop. 

And on and on it went until we reached my absolute FAVORITE. Sugar snap peas. 

"And what about this one?" I asked. "I LOVE sugar snaps. What do I need to do to make them grow?" 

"Oh, those? Those are the easiest of all. But they hate heat, so the best crops I ever had were when I planted in January." 

"What?? Like now January? But it's so cold! And the ground's been frozen! Is that really possible?" 

He shrugged. "As soon as we get a warmer day, go out and work in your garden and sprinkle them in the area you want them. Then cover them up with just a little bit of dirt. See what happens." 

Skeptical, I went home, waited for a slightly warmer day (it may have been in the 40s... it was still cold!) and planted my peas. I prayed over the bed and asked for a plentiful and bountiful harvest... and that the old gardener knew what he was talking about. I planted ever single seed I had in faith that this would work. 

And then I held my breath. And waited.  

You see, when it comes to farming, there's a lot of waiting. In our microwave society, we don't like waiting around. So instead of planting our own garden, we buy it grown, while complaining about the methods the farmer used to grow it for us. Instead of putting in the hours to make a friend, we sit at home watching TV or on Facebook, wishing we weren't lonely. Instead of listening to an older person's advice, which probably came from doing it wrong until they did it right, we scoff and tell ourselves there's a better way - a quicker way. And sometimes... just sometimes, we'd be wrong. 

Because for me, the proof is in the pudding. We had days of below 0 Fahrenheit after I planted; days where we had so much ice I wondered if they would actually survive; days where it rained so much, I had to put the dirt back on top of the seeds. But, but, despite all that, look what I found this morning after the rain finally stopped. Every single one came up and is standing tall and green. And it's a beautiful sight. 

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