It is fall garden season. This garden was a disaster, literally, due to extreme drought. What next? Soil samples!! The top six to 8inches of the soil is porous due to gross amounts of straw and old hay tilled into the earth. Below, there is compaction, likely from too much moisture years back.
So soil samples will be taken and sent to a lab for analysis. This fall and early spring, supplements will be added to balance needed nutrients. I want to experiment with various gardening techniques and soil-building. This fall is the beginning of that season.
The soil sample was dropped off at the recommended test lab on my last road trip with my tribe transporting horses. Next road trip for the same, the naturally mined minerals will be brought home, saving trucking fees from Pennsylvania to North Dakota.
It will not be a large order as the test plot will be a portion of the garden.
The test areas of the garden will be specific. The northwest portion is rich with compost and the south edge receives the most moisture as the nongarden terrain slopes to the north, catching most of the runoff. The minerals will be added to the center of the garden where it has historically been hard and clumpy.
The entire garden area will be mulched as usual but I expect to research a weed deterrent allowed for organic use. In recent past years, there has been an infiltration of mallow weeds. There needs to be marked improvement in weed control.
There is also the issue of gopher control. They are a problem farm-wide, but in the garden, it's infuriating.
Midsummer, this year, I planted a second crop of carrots and peas in an old feed trough for cattle. We were eating fresh carrots and edible-pod peas in September. The elevated planter kept them out of harm's way of gophers.
All this is factual and may be fairly uninteresting except for the realization that under the top layer of humus there lies a world of activity; tiny creatures turning foliage into compost. Yet, they need help due to the imbalance of moisture, oxygen, and minerals that are life-giving to plants in need.
It seems this is a bit like the human condition. Often we look okay from the outside, appearing cool and put together- accomplished in our various arts, crafts, and business. But underneath we are hard, calloused, perhaps, to our own needs as well as others'. There is plenty of activity under our surfaces as well. It's a matter, often, that we are unaware of our thought habits and the voices of our inner selves. And beneath all that-Hardhearted. Stubborn. Ouch!
What will we add to our lives to correct the hardpan under our surface?
It causes me to draw the analogy from Pharoah's heart in Exodus chapters 4-14. A rather lengthy read, but fascinating. Reading in an ESV Study Bible, the commentary brought out the point that Pharoah's hard heart was self-inflicted; due to his defiance that God is all-powerful. It sounds like a case of pride to me.
Don't we all want our way? We want to be independent and solve problems our way. Yes, we want relationships with others, but on our terms. We want power and control.
But God doesn't work this way. He sent signs and plagues on Egypt to show his power. Pharoah's heart was hardened through this process (Ex 4:21, 9:34) sometimes by himself and sometimes by God. This, to show God's power and eventually, Pharoah let God's people go.
The whole process was 'off again, on again' as Pharoah realized the effect of the slaves leaving- he sent his army to pursue them.
It would be neglectful not to mention God's rescue through the Red Sea. So evil may pursue but God will provide an escape!
Walking with God will help soften the hardness of our hearts.
So many lessons here. We will return to the garden and follow the progress through the seasons.