“So the Lord banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.” Genesis 3:23
In the past two months, I have planted eggplants, okras, sweet potato vines, bokchoys, and chilis. And now, I have harvested sweet potato sprouts, bokchoy/pechay, and okra. It is a tedious work. You don’t just drop a seed and water it. It takes a lot of perseverance, hard work, and diligence to victoriously harvest. With the advise and help of some locals I planted my first vegetable and fruit garden.
Here are the steps I did to have a vegetable and fruit garden (fruits are seed-bearing structures of the plant, meaning that eggplants, okras, and chilis are all fruits. Botanically speaking.)
Step 1: Plan your garden
When setting up a garden, it is important to consider these factors:
- Large space- An over crowded garden means that your plants would be competing for water, nutrients and sunlight, which means, that other plants are healthier than others.
- Sunlight – Sunlight is an important necessity to plants. It is needed to provide energy for photosynthesis, the process used by plants to convert light energy to chemical energy. When there’s not enough sunlight, plants can’t photosynthesize and die.
- Good soil- Good soil is also needed for effective planting. The soil needs to be dark brown because it means that it has organic matter in it. Another way of telling if it’s a good soil is that the soil is soft and breaks easily. Another way is that if it has earthworms. Earthworms are beneficial because it helps break down organic matter releasing nutrients to the soil. Try to find them in the soil.
- Pests- If your area has a lot of pests like cutworms, slugs, snails, root maggots, or leaf miners, you’re going to have a hard time planting and maintaining your plants.
If you have a large space that bathes in sunlight has good soil and no pests then of to step 2!
Step 2: Purchase seeds/seedlings
To decide wether to buy seeds or seedlings depend on the season your planting, the kind of seeds your planting, and the price. Planting bokchoys for example, they need to be bought in seed packets because they germinate (grow) quickly. Seeds need to be germinated before being planted, unlike seedlings, which can be planted right away.
You can buy seeds from the internet or an agricultural store, you can even obtain seeds from the food you eat. For example: tomatoes can be planted directly, and so are garlic and onions.
Step 3: Soften the soil
After purchasing seeds/seedlings, soften the earth by plowing. It sounds old school, but softening the earth is essential to the plant’s growth; if the soil is too hard, the plant’s roots can’t penetrate it. If too soft the plant won’t have a foundation to support themselves.
Step 4: Plant the seedlings
The soften soil is now easier to dig in. Dig a small hole, roughly the size of the roots, and put plant in the hole. After carefully planting it, cover the seedling with soil or compost.
Step 5: Water the plants
This step needs to be approached with caution. Use a sprinkler or watering can to do this. Forceful watering may uproot the plant as the roots are not yet firmly attached to the ground. When watering the plants, make sure to use a lot of water, not too much, not too little.
Step 6: Maintain
Depending on the type of plant or the season that you planted, it should have sprouted in a week or two and should be mature in a month. Remember to constantly water the plants and occasionally use fertilizer (organic). Chicken manure is an excellent fertilizer, as it contains high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous. In a few months, your ready to get your bounty!
Tips and Warnings
- If you have any pets such as chickens, dogs, cats, or ducks, build a fence to avoid them from excavating your crops.
- De-weed and clean your garden every month or few weeks.
- The ideal time to water your plants is early in the morning and afternoon.
- When covering your plant with soil or compost, cover half the plant with it, because the soil will erode and compress.
- If you’re germinating seeds in the fields, add a cover on them to avoid getting direct sunlight. Add big leaves (preferably banana) to prevent the moisture from escaping.
- Periodically prune your plants of dead leaves.
- Optionally, you can fence your garden so that everybody will know that there is something planted there and not step or uproot it.
- When planting, plant your seeds in neat rows as much as possible.
- DO NOT use chemical fertilizers as much as possible (organic is better in my opinion).
- DO NOT plant on shallow ground because the plants won’t anchor well on shallow soil.
- DO NOT kill ants, for they don’t eat the plants but eat other insects like aphids and worms.
Planting doesn’t only require water, sunlight and good soil. It also requires patience, perseverance, hard work, and diligence.
“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Proverbs 10:4
This also reminds me of a verse:
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at a proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong in the family of believers.”
Just like in planting, when you take care of your crop, water it, plant it in a good soil, and expose them enough sunlight, you will reap an abundant and healthy crop. But when you neglect it, you will reap nothing. Meaning, if you do good to others it will return back to you. (Note: Not all good things will be repaid with good things. But when you do, don’t expect to be repaid.)
We should also remember:
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31