Sunday, September 11, 2011

Take 5 With Kathy - "How Does Your Garden Grow?"

At Take Six we are standing with our American family, friends, and neighbors remembering the tragedy of September 11, 2001.  We will never forget!

It’s harvest time - one of my favourite seasons. I love visiting local farmers’ markets… a real feast for the senses…the array of beautiful colours, the unmistakable aroma of fresh fruit, the crunching of straw under your feet, the texture of various vegetables, and the sampling of sweet apple cider. I especially enjoy choosing fresh produce to make our old family recipe for cucumber relish.

For two summers now, I’ve tried growing some of our own vegetables with limited success. I can get a good yield of snow peas and tomatoes, but my attempts to grow other vegetables have been hit and miss. I’m not the only gardener disappointed with this year’s slow growth and smaller harvest largely due to the very wet and cool summer we’ve had. Only the past four weeks have provided much sunshine, but I fear it’s too late.

I was especially perplexed about my zucchini plants – lots of leaves and lovely blooms, but so far only three zucchini from seven plants! So, I did a little research and discovered these plants have male and female flowers, the latter of which need to be pollinated to produce fruit. Usually bees do this job very well, but I also learned you can brush a cotton swab on the stamen of the male flower and touch it to the female flower (or simply brush the male flower stamen against the female). Armed with this information I tried this out yesterday. We’ll see what happens. 

My brother-in-law, whose family owns a high-bush blueberry farm, also explained how vital pollination is for a good harvest. One year, the bee population suffered dramatically and so did their blueberry yield.

We have been enjoying lots of snow peas, however, and a few cherry tomatoes and yellow beans. With all the sunshine predicted for next week, I hope my “big beef” tomatoes finally ripen so I can make some yummy salsa again! I guess the important thing is not to lose heart and give up learning how to grow a good productive garden. For me, it’s just a hobby and fun to grow something I can actually savor fresh from my backyard.         

The Bible has much to say about believers in Christ bearing good fruit. In Galatians 5:22,23 we are encouraged to exhibit the fruit that the Holy Spirit cultivates in our lives…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That’s quite a garden! But in order to keep producing abundant healthy fruit, Paul says we must “keep in step with the Spirit” (verse 25). Anyone who has been a believer in Christ very long knows how hard it can be to follow the Spirit that closely. We give in to temptations, say things we later regret, let our pride get in the way, or ignore something we know is right.

I’m so thankful for Paul’s further reassurance, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9,10)

Until next Sunday,


P.S. I picked two zucchinis this morning (Friday) and there are about six more growing! My tomatoes are also starting to ripen. 



  1. Hi Kathy,

    What a rich garden you have! It will be nice to have all of that fresh bounty at your back door!!
    Have a great Sunday!
    All the Best,

  2. Your garden is looking really good. I don't think my tomatoes will ripen anymore, so I have put the green ones on the window sill to ripen in what ever sun we have in the next few weeks. It was our village produce show on Saturday, so take a look at the slide show. It was all good fun. I grow what I can, some hits, some misses, but I am grateful for whatever I get.
    Happy week

  3. Your vegetable plants look very nice. I hope you get to harvest lots of delicious veggies. I was interested in what you said about pollination. My family once had a hydroponic greenhouse where we grew approximately one thousand tomato plants. Since there were no bees inside the greenhouse we used an electric pollinator daily to touch each bloom on each plant. That was quite a chore but we finally learned to pollinate the whole house in less than an hour. That might be more info than you wanted to hear but your brother-in-law was right about it's importance. Have a great week-----------Shannon

  4. Your are so right. I always appreciate your thoughts. Lovely crop.

  5. I had the same zucchini experience. Four plants the size of Buicks and only two zucchini thus far. How am I going to be able to try ALL of my zucchini recipes with only two zucchini??


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