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A photo of a fresco in the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Tutayev.

Gardening With God

Last year I gave a short lecture at the school as part of our Third Thursday lecture series. I spoke about the many reasons we should garden:

We should garden because we eat food. We should garden because it’s a physical activity. We should garden because it will enlighten us on where our food comes from. We should garden because it’s fun. But while these are all good reasons to garden, the part of my lecture I wish I had spent more time on was titled Gardening with God.

In my biology class, we learn about the physical world. We talk a lot about the facts of creation. Unfortunately, we only touch briefly on the Creator. But if God exists, which I believe He does, then His creation will point us towards Him. Whether it be the order and structure of creation or its functionality and beauty, every fact we learn and creature we meet will point us towards His kingdom. Thus bringing us back to why we should garden: Gardening is the perfect way for us to have relationship with God and His creation.

We depend on God to care for us, as we depend on the garden to provide us with food and beauty. If we do not care for this relationship, our fruits, vegetables and flowers will not grow. It is the same way with our relationship with God. In fact, the first responsibility God gave to us was caring for the Garden of Eden

Then the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man He formed. Besides this, God caused every tree beautiful to the sight and good for food to grow from the ground…Then the Lord God took the man He formed and put him in the garden to tend and keep it.

Genesis 2:8-17

Clearly, God intended us to be among the plants and animals, living and caring for them.

If you are interested in starting a garden and enriching your relationship with God this month, then I have a couple of resources you might find helpful. October is a great time to plant quick maturing vegetables like radishes or plants that will survive the winter like kale or cabbage. Here is a link to an article published by Texas A&M Agrilife extension. The article outlines how to prepare a space for a garden and lists what you should grow and when, based on the region you live in. Houston is in region three and it is suggested that we plant Swiss chard, radishes, kale, garlic, and beets this month.

To prepare our school garden for winter, the students are pulling out the summer cantaloupe vines and weeds and covering the ground in newspaper and mulch which comes in the form of grass or leaf clippings. The mulch will slowly break down and provide much needed nitrogen throughout the winter season. The mulch also serves as ground cover, preventing a take over of weeds. We will be planting radishes, garlic, onions and kale.

Whenever I have any questions about gardening, I always refer to the Texas A7M AgriLife website. My post-gardening google search usually looks like the following: “tomato disease Texas A&M,” or, “how to get rid of aphids Texas A&M.” The resources that Texas A&M provide is research based information that will best help us identify problems in the garden especially since the experiments they conduct are done in our area and are often specific for Harris County. You are always welcome to email me with your garden questions, as well, at elewis@saintconstantine.org.

I leave you with an excerpt from Robert Frost’s poem called God’s Garden:

God made a beatous garden

With lovely flowers strown,

But one straight, narrow pathway

That was not overgrown.

And to this beauteous garden

He brought mankind to live,

And said: ‘To you, my children,

These lovely flowers I give.

Prune ye my vines and fig trees,

With care my flowerets tend,

But keep the pathway open

Your home is at the end.

– Robert Frost, God’s Garden

Featured Art – Terrestrial paradise fresco in the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Tutayev