Garden Version 2.0, or Sometimes Jesus Isn’t All That Cryptic

If you’ve ever been to church or Sunday school for any length of time, you’ve probably heard someone teach on this parable of Jesus, the Parable of the Sower:

“Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” – Matthew 13:3-9

As I headed outside this morning to work on (read: completely re-do) our garden, I couldn’t help but laugh when I thought of it. As many times as I’ve heard this story in my life, I have always looked at it in terms of its metaphorical value, trying to understand what Jesus was telling us about God the Father through this agricultural analogy. Never once did I stop and soak in what the parable is literally saying, what all of Jesus’ listeners would have looked at me and said “duh!” about because they were all farmers and dealt with these scenarios all the time.

RIP zucchini and squash plants. 3/11-6/11

So when all the vegetable plants in my front garden plot sprang up quicker than everything planted in the side beds, I didn’t bat an eye. Good for you, little guys, I thought to myself. Getting a head start. When my zucchini plants, so giant that they looked like something out of the Cretaceous period, began to take on a yellowish hue, I wasn’t sure what was going on. It wasn’t until the squash plants committed seppuku by falling over by their own weight and uprooting themselves that I realized that something had gone terribly awry. At some point while I was picking up the dried plants and tossing them into the compost, I was reminded of this part of the parable: “[Some] sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.”

It’s so crazy how hard those of us who grew up in suburban or urban environments without having any connection to where our food comes from have to work to “re-learn” the fundamental principles that thousands of generations of people before us knew by heart and didn’t give a second thought to. Now I know how my grandparents felt when we tried to teach them how to program the VCR.

Tomato plants in the side raised bed, still going strong.

Thankfully, we got one good crop from the snow peas before they gave up the ghost, and this bowl of lovelies from the garden bean plants, although I suspect they’ll dry up too before I can get another:

This morning I weeded and tilled the open spots in the front bed, and tonight when Marc gets home we’re going to plant a few more things to give it one more try–swiss chard, spinach, and onions. They all say “full sun” on the seed packets, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. That’s one thing that I love about starting plants from seeds. At $2 per packet, they’re cheap enough to gamble with. I just never though I’d have to worry about the plants getting TOO much sun; I expected the opposite problem. Any other gardeners want to suggest some edible plants that would be hearty enough to survive the face of the sun, i.e. my front plot?

In conclusion, the parable thing still cracks me up. I know that the point of Jesus telling that story was to communicate something spiritual to his followers, but I can’t help thinking that in His omniscience He may have also been projecting some practical gardening advice a couple thousand years into the future to His clueless daughter, if only she had “ears to hear.” =)

Amusingly yours,




Filed under art of hospitality, faith & God, general nonsense

10 responses to “Garden Version 2.0, or Sometimes Jesus Isn’t All That Cryptic

  1. Poor squashes. Is there a way you can add more depth to the soil so they can send their roots down deeper?

    Pepper plants LOVE the sun/heat, as do tomatoes (yours look great!) I’m not sure how good spinach and chard will do, though. The only time I’ve ever had luck growing them is in the spring/fall; they grow too fast and don’t taste good at all if there’s too much heat in the air. Good luck with round 2! And yay for urban gardening!

    • I think we’re gonna try building up the brick front of the bed to give it more depth. I ended up deciding to save the spinach and chard and just planted some more herbs and stuff in pots. So far, so good!

  2. if you put another layer of bricks in the front of the front plot (or even just some boards), you can fill it with more soil (make sure you close up the gaps where the steps are too). i’d go the brick route, though, because the wood would probably rot. 🙂

    • Good idea….Marc says the mortar shouldn’t be too expensive, and I know bricks are cheap. Too late to replant this summer, but at least we put some nutrients in the soil for next year. =)

  3. aubrey

    Be confident in those tomatoes. Father is growing his a few feet from his exhaust-laden truck which he and Boyfriend are fixing – and the plants double in size each week!

  4. Ha! Perfectly timed. I have a few browning plants that I suspect must have shot up too fast as well. I love the connection!

  5. Victoria / Justice Pirate

    how exciting to grow your own things!!!! I love it!
    I always get sad when I read this parable because of how many people I know who are certain types of plants. The one where they have no root is always the saddest. They just think things and are all “yey Jesus” but never try to actually cling to Jesus and read His word, etc. When something hits them it’s all, “BOOM! Forget Jesus! he doesn’t really love me if he couldn’t do ____ for me!!” 😦

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