The Black Mountain Home Garden has continued to grow and produce beyond our expectations. Thank You, God!
There something holy about a garden. You start each season down on your knees planting tiny seeds that somehow grow into much larger plants that in time produce life sustaining food. You touch the soil and feel the mystery of past life that has broken down over time to become the home and nourishment for new life.
You realize that someday this year’s garden and you also will be a part of this cycle.
Some days you just plant and weed and harvest and forget that this garden is not all your creation. Then God reminds you with pounding rain or a sun drenched day or ladybugs or maybe a hailstorm. God also reminds you with each person who shows up to help with the days chores, whether that person comes once or often. Thank You, God!
Sometimes I think back about the newly cleared ground of early spring. I remember the piles of cardboard boxes broken open and cut to form paths between rows of barren ground. Looking at the size of the field and how far we got that day, I wondered how this dream of weed-free, mulched paths would ever come to be. Then new volunteers showed up and I saw how much farther we got that day.Thank You, God!
I took heart and kept cutting more boxes, wondering where the mulch was going to come from. I remember Lee asking the man putting mulch on the side of the road if he could bring it to the garden. It was exciting to see mulch beginning to cover the cardboard. There were days spent cutting cardboard and spreading mulch. Jane would say, “Right now we’re planting cardboard in the garden.” Volunteers came anyway. Thank You, God!
I remember when the first pea and collard and broccoli sprouts began to break the surface of the soil and push their way up toward the sun. A spring downpour washed other seeds down the slight incline toward the creek. Luckily we were able to move the cardboard to make our rows go parallel to the creek so our seeds would not be washed away. Thank You, God!
I remember being given permission to have a large load of mulch dumped by the garden and being told some youth needed a project and could help spread the mulch, if we would continue laying down cardboard paths. It was joyous to show up one Saturday to see all the cardboard covered with mulch, the many helping hands making our work much lighter.
I remember taking a leap of faith and ordering 500 sweet potato slips to plant in the field adjacent to the garden. Jane put out an urgent call to arms for volunteers to come help. Sixteen volunteers from different faith communities responded by showing up to plant sweet potatoes. Some hoed up hills of soil, while others laid out the slips. Each slip was carefully planted and watered with water from the creek mixed with fish emulsion. The field was planted in our allotted two hours, and we gathered in a prayer circle. Thank You, God!
I remember volunteers building trellises for peas, and beans, and tomatoes and later learning what to do differently next year. Then there was weeding… and more weeding. Some preferred to hoe while other volunteers spent two hours on their knees plucking ragweed, edible purslane, smartweed, prickly nightshade, and jimson weed among others. The reward was beautiful, weed-free rows of happy plants. Then in our prayer circle we were reminded of the need to weed in our own lives. Thank You, God!
I remember the first corn seedling being plucked and eaten by the crows. So Lee and Faye put strings of old VCR tape inches above the newly planted corn seeds to deter the birds. I remember Lee smiling when that worked. When birds pecked the first ears of corn Lee and Faye covered the corn patch with deer netting carefully weaving together the pieces. How great that first ear of corn tasted! Thank You, God!
These days when we go to the garden it’s hard to believe it was once barren ground covered with cardboard. There ‘s never enough time to do all the harvesting, weeding, and maintaining that needs to be done. There’s two long, tall rows of Kentucky Wonder beans that have grown so well they’ve started pulling down the trellis. Other bush beans are starting to produce elsewhere in the garden. There’s a long row of zucchini and several rows of peppers, basil, and eggplant. There two good patches of sweet corn getting ready to produce and a field of sweet potatoes silently growing underground. We still have cabbage and carrots from the spring and some struggling tomato plants. There’s a sweet patch of sunflowers and wildflowers in the other field. There’s even a pumpkin and watermelon patch. Thank You, God!
Every week a few extra volunteers show up to help tend and harvest the garden. It seems like a miracle, and indeed I believe it is one – a miracle we are allowed to participate in that illuminates the cycle of life each and every year.
Thank You, God!