Last year, I had two new raised beds with a cattle panel in between. I was excited about using this space well, so I planted as much as I could fit. I placed six cucumber plants and six pole bean plants on each side of the cattle panel. The plants were small when I put them in and there seemed to be plenty of room, so I added bush bean plants along the edges and a couple of tomato plants on the ends.
The cucumber plants took off immediately and produced like crazy! The bush beans were also quick producers, and we got a nice bean harvest from them. The tomato plants grew tall, but never produced much fruit. By the time the pole beans climbed the panels, all of the nutrients had been sapped from the soil by the other plants. We only picked a handful of beans from the stalks, and they shriveled up and died early.
It was a good lesson. Just because there seems to be room in the dirt when the plants are small, a gardener must remember that the plants will grow and take up quite a bit more space. Even more important to consider than the space above the soil, is the space below ground. Plants use nutrients from the dirt, and especially in raised beds, there is only enough to support so many plants.
I garden very much like I live. Every once in a while, there seems to be extra space in my life. As things come along that seem small and good, I happily plant them wherever I find space. The problem begins when those small, good things grow and take up more and more room in my already overcrowded life! Each thing also draws from my energy, brainpower, and creativity. Before long, I am overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused. My life just can't hold but so many good things.
This year, we determined to spread out our plants as we build more beds. Even if I over plant, I hope to notice before it is too late so I can strategically thin out my garden. I am working on doing the same thing in my life right now. I am involved in too many good things - some of them will have to be thinned
So that I can continue to produce good fruit.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.