Gardens and Rest

I garden in a pretty small area, and make the soil work very hard. In the Bible it says to plant 6 years and give the land rest in the seventh year.
~  “The land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and garner their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the Lord…. The land is to have a year of rest.” (Leviticus 25:2-5; cf. Exodus 23:10-11)

Hummingbird in the Garden

Those who have gardened a  long time or researched gardening understand the wisdom in this. We can only take from the soil for so long before it becomes depleted of that which makes food good for us. Also, poor soil makes weak plants, and weak plants are more susceptible to disease and parasites.

We have been creating garden beds for the last 5 years on our property, enriching them with compost and even adding fertilizer at times when our soil was poor. In the process of getting the raised beds laid out in a way we were happy with, we ended up moving the soil a few times and have upset the rotational balance of crops and nutrients used. Thus, this year, we are going to let the soil rest.

Now, last year we realized that we needed to rejuvenate the soil, so in one bed I planted peanuts and rye grass to replenish nitrogen levels. That bed also had wildflowers sown in it with abandon and was a sight to behold, lush and green and full of color, bees and hummingbirds! This year we will use that bed to plant a few vegetables while allowing the others to have the same treatment of replenishing plants. Not only will our produce be brimming with nutrients, but we will have less trouble with pests by doing this.

It feels like a huge sacrifice while planning and realizing you won’t have as much produce as if you used the entire gardening space, but I keep looking ahead to next year where all my beds will be rich and I will have a great harvest. In the meantime, I am finding a great deal of pleasure in choosing flowers and grasses that will help the soil and still serve a purpose for food. Planting clover and vetch will replenish soil and produce treats for the goats, guinea pig, and chickens. Many flowers are edible, and among the wildflowers there are many with medicinal uses, not to mention dried flower arrangements (and fresh!). I plan to add a garden bench this year so that I can sit and watch the birds and butterflies, and plan to take full advantage of the opportunities for photography practice!

What do you do to replenish your soil and give it a rest? Have you even thought of this in planning your garden? How do you care for what we have been given? For those of you that may be interested, here is a site that is full of verses from the Bible detailing how we are to care for the earth and all that is in it.

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About nigerianmeadows

I am a homeschooling mother of 2 autistic children and cook gluten-free, I homestead on 2.5 acre and raise goats and chickens for dairy and eggs, I garden, cook, quilt, and take photographs. I build, paint, scrub, and dance on tables. I am the ultimate WOMAN!!! Oh, yeah, and I like my husband a whole lot (he is the one that makes all this possible, and he loves me like no other!)
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5 Responses to Gardens and Rest

  1. LindaG says:

    What flower is that, that the humming bird is drinking from? I am planning now, what plants to use to enrich our pasture. I want to use grasses natural to the area, if possible. I want to use clover, too. I’m not too smart with medicinal stuff, and other than salt and pepper, my mom never used any sort of herbs; so I find myself reluctant to plant those.

    My hubby is not big on anything other than salt and chili powder.

    I will definitely look into vetch because we want our animals to live as free range as possible when we retire.

    Thanks for this thoughtful article!

    • It’s a zinnia. They will reseed themselves if left to die and will fill your garden and fields! I really like the small sunflowers for that too. Chickens and goats LOVE sunflowers! And peanut foliage! Herbs are pretty easy. If you want a nice smell when you walk by, plant rosemary and thyme. Thyme can often handle being walked on, and rosemary is like pine; it stays green all year! And has the prettiest little blue flowers on its branches all summer long. If you want to start small, buy a bag or two of perennial wildflower seed mix and toss it out. In a few years you will have lots of them! Oh, and chamomile smells really sweet when you walk on it. All the herbs are good for your chickens health. They will naturally eat what they need to stay healthy. Many people plant herbs around animal fencing that worms and parasites don’t like and it helps keep them away. Works for us!

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