As much as I would like to tell you otherwise, my family did not have a super successful garden this year. Yes, we did harvest some purple potatoes, a few carrots and basil enough for a batch of pesto. We also managed to cultivate some monster zucchini, four tomatoes, six miniature pumpkins and three giant sunflower plants. Other than that, we did not have much success.
There are reasons for this, ranging from achy arms and destructive dogs to devastating hail. All told, I’m wracking this up to another year of learning how to garden in Colorado.
Along the way, though, we experienced some special moments in the garden. My little girls searched through our extra seeds and planted their own spaces, which we covered in dirt and prayer. Even after the first frost, cosmos flowers are still waving at us, the result of Journey Grace’s planting. Joshua learned how to cut potato eyes and plant them; purple potato mash is actually pretty tasty!
And, oh, the conversations we had in that garden! One day I would plant seeds in one child’s heart; another day, I would pull weeds out of another. That garden space has held everything from Bible class to counseling sessions. While hauling water, fixing the fence or moving dirt, we have discussed Scripture, theology, relationships and self-esteem. While tilling the soil, working the compost or pulling up weeds, my kids and I have prayed, talked and dreamed. There is something about that garden space that makes a place for relationship to grow, too.
Now summer is passed. Other than the cosmos and sunflower stalks, the garden is empty. I have been putting the beds to rest for the winter, so that we can try for a successful year again next summer.
But I guess, upon reflection, success is really quite relative. I may not have harvested a great deal of produce, but I did plant an awful lot of seeds in my kids’ hearts.
Come to think of it, the harvest I may get from that will far outweigh any vegetables I could ever hope to grow. And that will be the best harvest of all.