Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
TITLE: Winter Gardening
By Edmond Ng
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Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease."
<font size=1>Genesis 8:22 (NAS)</font></center>
Many of us see winter as a time to rest from gardening, a time to wait for spring to return before commencing gardening activities again. While our gardens and yards may appear to be in a state of inactivity during winter, there are actually important things taking place all year long that contribute to the overall health of the plants and vegetation in and out of seasons. The soil, for example, is active all year long and the evergreen plants continue to use nutrients. According to WinterGardeningTips.com, winter is an important period in the gardening season for composting. Composting involves a mixture of decaying material of plants and food waste to use as fertilizer for improving the growth of new plants. While this is going on, cover crops or what is also known as ‘green manure’ can also be grown to add nutrients to help improve the soil for the next season. Cover crops usually perform multiple functions which include soil improvement and soil protection.
Besides cover crops, there are many other plants that can be grown during fall and winter, such as the ornamental and bulb plants for indoors as well as outdoors. Various kinds of winter vegetation, such as the pumpkins and winter squash, are also ideal for planting off season for harvest during late fall and winter or for storage and cooking through the entire winter. Gardeners can also strategically plan a winter garden to enjoy color and attractive plants all year long. In warmer states such as California and Florida, more opportunities for off season planting is not unusual, but no matter where we live, we can actually enjoy working with plants all year round.
Much like composting which involves decaying material of plants and food waste to improve the growth of new plants, Jesus in the Gospel of John teaches a similar lesson on discipleship when He compares our willingness to give up our all to follow Him with a grain of wheat that must fall into the earth and die before it can bear much fruit (John 12:24-26). If we therefore wish to follow Jesus, we must be prepared to forgo all things and free ourselves of the enticement and entanglements of this world in order to bear much fruit and be a true disciple of the Lord.
Like cover crops and other plants that can be grown during winter, we can also learn a spiritual lesson about what it means to preach the word in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2a). Preaching the gospel need not be only when in season because while the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:22). As long as we are on earth, there will always be a need for planting the seed of faith, composting to improve growth of the new in faith, fertilizing to get ready the pre-believers to the next level of faith, and harvesting in season and off season the ones who are ready to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. There will also be those who are ready to move up the next level of faith, like the cover crops and the wheat of grain that falls into earth and die, be willing to give up all to follow Christ.
<i>Dear Lord, stir our hearts that we may be willing to be used by You in every season and at all times, regardless the role we may need to play. Help us Lord not to slacken or sit back to wait when opportunities come our way to bring others to You, but strengthen us Lord and make us willing to forgo our all to follow You.</i>
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