Written By: Ashley Elliott
Even if you are a snowbird that loves winter, you must find some excitement in the beauty of spring popping up- daffodils budding, birds chirping, green peeking through, and cotton candy trees adding color to your landscape. I know that in our house, I look forward to putting away the big heavy coats, collecting up all the mittens, and turning off the heat for some fresh air. Sitting outside and feeling the warmth of the sun, even if I’m still layered up, shoots straight to my soul, and brightens my mood. Before spring cleaning kicks in for in the interior of our home, I get the urge to bring our yard out of hibernation. The tub of balls comes out, I dig out the kids’ cleats, a fresh bag of sand for the sandbox, raking up tree debris and collecting sticks, bringing out the patio furniture cushions, making sure all bike tires have air, checking inventory on bubbles and chalk, the list goes on and on!
What do you enjoy doing when spring rolls in?
One to-do list item that my kids are always eager to help with is our mini-greenhouse and vegetable garden. I don’t exactly have a green thumb, but I grew up with parents (and grandparents!) who not only have a love for gardening but are very successful at getting pretty and tasty things to grow – so alas, I try!
What are some things I can easily grow?
* Vegetable scraps – If you’re just starting and you want to test the waters with some quick results, save some of your vegetable scraps and watch them sprout! Cut the bottom two inches off of your romaine lettuce, then dig through your recycling for a little plastic cup or tub (washed out butter container, cream cheese tub, hummus tub, etc.) add a tiny layer of water and soak your lettuce nub for a few days. Your only job is to change the water out every day (or every other is probably fine too). If you manage not to knock it over or have it accidentally thrown away after a few days, add a scoop of dirt to cover the bottom and moisten it with a little more water. This can be left by your kitchen sink or put in any sunny window sill. Within just a week or two, you should have some exciting growth – certainly not a salad bowl’s worth of growth but perhaps worthy of an Instagram post. Green onion, celery, bok choy, fennel, garlic, and leeks will also shoot up quickly and eventually grow into full stalks too if taken care of – the same idea of cutting off the bottom two inches and soaking in a tub to start them off. *Lots of other vegetables scraps will grow and excite the crowds in your house like carrot tops, turnip tops, beets, and radishes. But these vegetables won’t completely regrow like the ones previously listed; they will only shoot up some pretty (and edible) leaves.
* Potatoes & Tomatoes – Even if you don’t have a garden box, these are two fairly easy vegetables to grow right out of compost soil. Grab a bag of fresh soil from your garden center (steer clear of ones that are straight manure, unless you want a lovely farm aroma on your back patio!). Cut a large square out of the flat side of the bag once you have found a good spot for the bag to sit for a few months. For potatoes: the next time you grab a sack of potatoes from the grocery store for dinner, stash one to the side and bury it down in your soil bag. For tomatoes: grab a tomato seed packet if you’re feeling brave or a starter plant that has already sprouted and get that planted down in your soil bag. These plants like warm sunshine and don’t take too much water. Once harvest rolls around in a few months, you’ll be excited to see how many potatoes your one little loner grew, and similarly, with tomatoes, one measly plant can yield a bountiful of tomatoes. *Sidenote: tomatoes can get heavy for the plant, so it would be good to push a sturdy stick(s) down next to your plant and stabilize the main shoot with some yarn/string once the plant has some height.
* Wheatgrass – This plant doesn’t take long to grow, doesn’t require much attention, and can be tasty in a smoothie. Have your kids decorate some recycled items, like an empty can or plastic tub, fill just over halfway with some soil and plant a handful of wheatgrass seeds. As the grass grows, you can snip off the tops and throw it in your blender.
* Flowers – An empty egg carton works as the perfect nursery for seeds. Choose a pretty flower seed packet and sprinkle a few seeds in each slot over the top of a little scoopful of compost. Keep your egg carton nursery in a window sill or where there is some sunlight and lightly spray with water daily. Don’t get eager and transfer into a pot too soon, allow plenty of time for your plant to develop before carefully replanting outside once you are certain the warm weather is sticking around.
Growing enough vegetables to feed your family or even sustain a vegetarian diet would take a considerable about of space and attention; however, a mini window sill garden or an edible corner in your yard can still be very rewarding. Be sure to tag @womensoaring on any garden adventures this inspires you to create!
And now, I strike at the opportunity to bring up a different kind of seed planting…. planting seeds of faith in our family. Many questions come to mind with this topic: What to plant? When to plant? What is too much? What is too little? How will I know my seeds are growing? Can I peek at the roots? How do I tend those seeds? How do I prune what starts to grow? How can I protect what’s growing?
Do any of these sound familiar? Are any of these the questions that start pinging your brain as you’re trying to fall asleep at night? Have you turned any of these questions into frequent prayers? I can’t pretend that I have a glowing green thumb when it comes to seeds of faith just like my garden outside, but once again, I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where seeds were sown in my childhood. I have been able to, (and continue to), experience my own spiritual gardening. And now, with my young family, my husband and I are able to experiment within our own environment and seasons, to see what works best for our children in alignment with our goals and spiritual desires.
Here are some simple seeds you can start planting with your children, regardless of the age of your garden or number of weeds overgrowing:
1. Seeds of Prayer – Share with your kids what you’re praying about, ask them for prayer requests, and model simple prayers at dinner time, bedtime, or whenever works for you. How soon can you teach your kids that you don’t need to have the perfect words put together to talk to God?
2. Seeds of Scripture – A letter board, whiteboard, or simple frame in the kitchen or family room is a great place to change out scripture. Set one verse a week or a month and see if you can bring it to memory. You might not see your pre-teen or teen sitting down and digging into their Bible, but could reading the occasional scripture posted in your home add to their wheelhouse of daily thoughts?
3. Seeds of Bible Stories – Bedtime stories are a great place to add these in if you have young kids, but walks, long car rides, and dinner table conversations are also good times to bring up some Bible superstars as if they are old friends. Are there different people in the Bible we can relate to at different times? Certainly, there are adventures, trials, mishaps, love stories, and victories to share.
4. Seeds of Community – How are you connected to your community? What groups are your kids a part of, or what weekly commitments do you hold as a family? Invest in friendships that follow similar lifestyle goals. Don’t keep the idea too far from the thought that your kids could be looking for the next role model; who are you surrounding your family with?
5. Seeds of Service – Do you think your kids could benefit from the idea that their needs don’t always come first? Find ways to give back to your community and those in need. God calls us to love and serve one another, not just those within the walls of our dwelling.
6. Seeds of Worship – How do you feel during a powerful worship song? Have you ever felt a stirring, some comfort, or pulled strength from being a part of worship? Bring that feeling into your car, your home, and your weekly family agenda.
It is never too late to start planting these seeds – unlike your spring garden, there is no need to wait for the perfect day or right season. Grace and patience will be your water and sunshine as you wait for these seeds to grow in your children’s hearts.
“Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:10)
Here is my prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,
As spring brings in a reminder for new beginnings, may You guide our hearts toward opportunities to sow more seeds. Help us to cast away any fears of not being capable and equip us with tools we need to spread seeds of Your love and truth as far as we are able. I ask that You give us the patience to wait for our time of harvest, strength to labor through the elements, and an abundance of grace for learning to tend our gardens. Thank You for continuing to provide all that we need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written By: Ashley Elliott