Soil for the soul, food for the body
Today our family spent a little time digging in the rich soil of our garden plot. This area is so special on the ranch, because it is the same spot that Travis's grandmother, Ellen, cultivated when she and her husband, Jack, first moved onto the ranch in the 1970's.
Our entire family enjoys so much getting our hands into fertile soil, carefully placing seeds and bulbs, and watching the earth spring forth life. It is such a picture of Who God Is. He, after all, is the ultimate Master Gardener. How gracious is He to give us charge over this land to be stewards of His creation.. and what is more, to use that vegetation and the animals for our benefit! Praise to the name of the Lord! (Genesis 1:26-31) In the past several years, Travis and I have been growing in our knowledge of soil health and regenerative agriculture. We have learned so much about the benefit and importance of biomass, earthworms, no-till farming/gardening, multi species grazing and multi species planting. In 2018, our entire family (Even Gil, who was 3 weeks old at the time!) attended a 3 day international conference called The Grass Fed Exchange where we learned from and networked with ag producers from literally all over the world, all with the same goal in mind: managing our land correctly so that it can heal itself, produce abundantly, and provide excellent nutrition for our animals. "The Grassfed Exchange Conference is a gathering of regenerative ranchers, dairymen, and sustainable food supporters from across the world who come together to network and exchange ideas. We desire to help producers and consumers grow in the knowledge of the grass-fed industry." (taken from www.grassfedexchange.com)
We actually have not had a large garden in several years (hello, several small children), but Travis has been working on this garden area every spring and fall with cover crops, mowing those down and leaving the residue for mulch and biomass, among other things. He was over the moon excited to see "cottage cheese" soil and an abundance of earthworms when he stuck the spade in today! And then he said sadly, "Sorry worms. I just ruined your home."
This was my job today. Pictured above: Lots of old weeds and grasses, and LOTS of raspberry branches. Peach trees that sprouted from some Colorado peach pits I threw in the garden several years ago. Raspberries only grow on new branches and every year you're supposed to trim them down. Me and my pruning shears went to work...
...while my "horses", "cattle", and "giant chickens" trampled down the old grasses to serve as mulch and residue to protect the soil, the raspberries, and to inhibit weeds this growing season.
Much better! Maybe some day those peaches will produce? We are looking forward to a bumper crop of raspberries this summer! Fun fact: These raspberry plants came from transplants from Grandma Ellen's garden at her current home!
Digging for more worms.
Adding composted manure to the raised beds.
Planting strawberries (to the left), onions, arugula, and garlic.
Psalm 104 talks about The Lord's care over all of His works. I encourage you to read the whole chapter - I just selected a few verses that stood out to me after my time digging in the soil today! "[The Lord] causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the bath,
And wine which makes man's heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man's heart." (vv.14&15) "O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions" (v. 24)
"Let the glory of the LORD endure forever;
Let the LORD be glad in His works" (v. 31)
Get out and dig in the soil today, friends!