Composting our Lives

It has been several years now since my wife and I have been able to plant a garden. So you can imagine how exciting it has been for us to plant our garden now that we are living in Reliance, Virginia. We had never tried composting before so it was going to be interesting to see how compost would affect our garden. I knew that the compost would enrich our garden soil. What I was not prepared for was the variety of volunteer plants that would spring up in our garden.

We originally planted six tomato plants and, because we put some compost in the garden as it was being tilled, we ended up with eleven. Also last fall we purchased a pumpkin to decorate our porch. After the pumpkin had seen better days, we cut it up and put it on the compost pile. While several articles recommended that we make sure not to allow seeds into the compost mix, we decided to just dump in everything.

And so over the winter I turned the compost faithfully and added our kitchen scraps. I kept wondering what the soil from the compost would look like and whether it was actually doing what it was supposed to do. After all, we had not put the compost in a bin, as is sometimes recommended, but just piled it up near the back fence.

This was an experimental year, both for the compost and the garden. It was a pleasant surprise to watch the volunteers, including two pumpkin vines, pop up in unexpected places and give us produce we hadn’t counted on. Keep seeds out? Where would be the adventure in that?

Where is all this leading? It has reminded me that when you and I put ourselves in God’s hands (seeds and all) and trust God, we are never quite sure what life will have in store for us, but we will always be surprised by God. And it seems to me those surprises are like my composting experiment—we never know what is going to grow in the garden of our lives. It usually turns out to be better than we could ever imagine.


January 01, 2009 by Timothy Teates
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