For the first two decades of my life, I grew up on the typical Midwestern diet. My dad moved us to the country just before I became a teenager. He planned an enormous garden. Little did I know how much that was about to change everything.
When it was time to plant he had every person in our family out there helping. Drawing lines in the dirt, staking out rows, and labeling sections. All summer, eight people weeded and cultivated and watered. We grew the regular stuff: cabbage, carrots, corn, beans, lettuces, tomatoes and squash. It grew like you’d expect. But that first year, everything seemed amazing and surprising.
I learned a lot about growing vegetables and why tomatoes split and how bean plants love to be picked and as long as they’re picked they keep pumping out more beans.
No one says that growing a garden is a foolish endeavor. If they’ve ever grown a garden, their eyes get a little glint of brightness. They know how fantastic that produce is going to taste. It is outta this world loaded with flavor. You might find great produce in a farmer’s market. But when you invest your time, sweat and concern in your own garden, the tomatoes taste sweet and fat and juicy, the beans snap beautifully. And you eat the most wonderful salads in the world with the freshest, just picked vegetables you’ve ever had. My mouth is watering right now.
Those were some great life lessons, too. You don’t plant a seed today and expect a harvest the next day. You need to make sure you plant a seed right and water it so that when it sprouts, the roots are going into the dirt and the sprout is reaching for the sun.
There’s a lot of nurturing between the first day and the last. Lots of sunny days and stormy days. Without the rain, your plant won’t grow. With tomato plants, you’ve got to keep your eye on the suckers and not allow too many of them. You have to make sure the good plants don’t get overwhelmed or choked out by weeds.
You watch the plant grow flowers then something tiny and green grows out of that and gets bigger and starts to color the riper it gets. Eventually, it’s harvest time. It’s a wonderful thing digging in the dirt and watching a tiny seed become a whole plant, fruiting and making more seeds. It’s nothing short of miraculous.
What does this mean for you? We all start out with the seeds of our future. Our dreams start out like seeds. But you have to plant. You can’t reap a harvest if you don’t plant. That isn’t the only thing that can prevent your harvest. When plant, you have to water and nurture those dreams and keep an eye on them. If you have to cage them to protect the fruit (like I do to keep the squirrels from taking my green tomatoes) then protect them.
Here in the Midwest, planting season and growing season happen within a specific time limit. Each of us are given a number of days and we shouldn’t waste any of them. We don’t know how many days we have so if you haven’t started planting seeds for your life yet, start right now. Start today. As long as you’re upright and breathing you have time to begin. In due time, the harvest will follow your hard work.