Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Cleaning

I get an incredible urge to dig in the dirt this time of year.  Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do in the garden to prepare for planting when the weather gets warmer.  Today, I started spring cleaning in my strawberry patch.  

Last year, I planted strawberries in small circular raised beds made from the green plastic rings that are made to put around water meters.  I had spied those rings in Ms. Agnes's barn, and she was happy for me to use them.  After lining the whole patch with plastic, and under the beds with landscape fabric, I filled the bottom half of the beds with manure hay from the goat pasture and then added good dirt on top.  My strawberries grew well last year, but the immense amount of rain made the berries mushy and ants from the manure hay ate holes in most of them.  I read somewhere that ants do not like mint, so I transplanted some of my peppermint into the strawberry beds.

As I was surveying my strawberry patch the other day, I noticed that the dirt had sunk as the hay in the bottom had composted.  One of my beds had been invaded by wire grass and several of the others had been completely taken over with mint.  I would definitely have some work to do if I want a successful crop this year.

Today, I worked first on the bed with the wire grass.  Because it is so invasive, I had to remove all of the dirt in that bed.  After moving the strawberry plants, I shoveled out the dirt. I felt like crying, throwing out such pretty dirt, but the ugly roots I found throughout the bed were confirmation that it was the only way to completely rid it of the evil weed.

After mixing up new dirt and replanting that bed, I began to tackle one of the beds infested with mint.  I didn't throw out the dirt in this one, since I wouldn't mind some of the mint reappearing, but I did need to add more dirt to fill the bed.  As I pulled the plants apart though, I was shocked at how tightly the mint had wound itself around the strawberry plants.  It would have completely choked out my strawberries had I not removed the mint.

I stopped with those two beds today - I'll finish the rest this weekend - but the whole experience left me thinking about the similarities between the wire grass and the mint.  I planted the mint on purpose with good intentions, but, though it accomplished its purpose, the mint took over and choked the plant that produces good fruit.  The wire grass forced its way into the bed, unwelcomed.  It was never wanted, and it ruined the entire little garden.  Both plants, though their intentions were different, ultimately destroyed - both plants had to be removed.

There are many things in our lives that can destroy like wire grass and mint.  Some things may seem good and right at the time, but can take over and choke out our potential to produce good fruit.  These things must be pruned and potentially removed so that we can fullfill our purpose.  Other things force their way in and are bad from the beginning.  Pruning may not be sufficient with these things, our lives will need a total cleansing in order to save us.

Regardless of what things we have in our lives, we can all use a good spring cleaning!  I pray that God will refill my spirit, remove all of the weeds, pull off any old growth that is dry and dead, and thoroughly soak my roots with His living water.  Then, as He shines on me with the light from His Son, I will grow and bloom and produce plenty of good fruit!

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