I'll be honest though, my desire for gardening is not because I want to grow my own food. I'm honestly pretty happy to buy from the grocery store. I'm not concerned about pesticides and organic varieties, blah, blah, blah.
My desire to grow something actually stems from the spiritual. Say what? How does vegetable gardening connect with your spiritual life? Well, I'll tell you...
All last year (2015) I read the book, Spiritual Rhythms by Mark Buchanan, off and on. One particular time I referenced the book, I was so intrigued on the connections he made with "planting" and "harvesting" and sowing the seeds of spiritual disciplines.
This lead me to do some light research on how long it takes to grow and harvest vegetables and fruits. God asks us to plant spiritual seeds in our life (spiritual disciplines), and most often we have to wait to see what those seeds will mature into. The longer the mature time, the larger the crop, right?
Here are some of my findings...
- Did you know that asparagus can be harvested sparingly for 1 to 2 weeks in the second year of planting? That's right, you can't even eat the first year's worth of crop. A mature patch would be considered 5 years old. Talk about having to wait for a good thing!
- Garlic: It's maturation time is 4 to 6 months and is one of the hardiest of plants. It's resistant to cold and is not harmed by frost, freezes, or even snow. It goes dormant over the winter, but does not die. Wow, I'd like that as a description of my spiritual walk (hardiest of plants)!
- Here's one more... Beans, onions, and peas take about 60 days to mature. They mature faster, but produce a much smaller vegetable.
In any case, once I started researching I was hooked. Problem was I was right in the middle of a growing season (early December). I was TOO LATE to starting growing winter crops.
Wow, so not only did I learn how long it takes to grow and cultivate things, but now I realized you can't just start any time. Can you feel the spiritual connection here? Planning, cultivating, waiting, caring for, timing, and the list goes on...
Now that we are approaching the spring planting season (around March), I'm excited to starting planning for spring crops!
After much research (honestly, there is so much info out there, it will make your head spin), and consulting this great book from horticulturalist Robert Bowden (fun fact: he was/is the Exec Director of Leu Gardens here in Orlando), I finally was able to decide on what to grow.
- Green Beans
- Collard Greens
- Collard Greens
And some herbs of course... Cilantro, Rosemary, Mint, Basil, Chives
I know that doesn't sound like much, but I am starting as a beginner. And.. many crops can't handle Florida's spring and summer heat. I'll have to wait until fall to plant other things like onions, lettuces, garlic, etc.
Now onto building some more planter boxes... I'll keep you posted on how things go!