COVID made me a gardener. Well, not really, but since we were grounded from travel and spending more time at home, I have tried growing a few herbs and tomatoes on my back patio. In May, as part of my Mother’s Day gift, my family bought me some herbs for the planter box we are storing for my daughter.
All the herbs died. And the flowers.
So, we bought more.
And, those died too.
Bugs. Mold. Wilt. White fuzzy stuff under the leaves and on the stems.
Yuck and discouragement and frustration as I pulled out the dead plants over and over again. Even the between-the-herbs marigold plants died. I thought they grew anywhere.
I googled, and I sprayed natural remedies, and the herbs continued to die. The tomato plants survived, but they grew leaves and no fruit.
Social media posts showed me others celebrating huge baskets of fresh harvest.
I was ready to quit but decided to try one last time, asking the plant nursery expert for help. I took my dead plants back to the store. The kind lady looked at me sympathetically and my stack of plant ID tabs from all my dead plants and said, “Don’t buy any more plants right now. Wait a few weeks until it is cooler.”
So simple. Orlando’s sizzling summers are too hot for most herbs and tomatoes too. The Midwest growing season is not the same as in Florida. Waiting a few weeks changed EVERYTHING. My herbs are flourishing, and the tomato plants are bursting with soon-to-be-fruit yellow blossoms, and I have my first fledging sweet peppers growing on healthy plants!
TIMING made a huge difference.
I can’t help wondering how often timing affects other things I have attempted to do. When have I longed for something before its best season? How have I compared my efforts with others and anticipated the same results they had when they had them? How have I tried to “fix” something with a personal remedy that couldn’t overcome natural circumstances? When have I been impatient with a lack of growth and fruit in people’s lives? When have I been tempted to give up right before the situation was about to change and get better?
My little patio garden has been good for my soul during these past months – challenges, joys, lessons learned, even getting to enjoy fresh flavor additions to our meals. I’m glad I didn’t give up on those struggling plants.
In much the same way, I’m grateful God doesn’t give up on me. His guidance can prevent me from comparing my efforts with others, pushing too hard at the wrong time, or giving up too soon. I only need to ask.
Do you garden? What have you learned from your experience?