This year in the garden, it has been fun and rewarding to experiment with different greens and to collect some seeds from them.
Last year in the late summer, I planted kale so I would have some to harvest in the fall. I did harvest kale, and the plants continued to live through the winter. They started growing again in the spring, so I harvested kale all summer and now into the second fall. We have eaten kale and frozen kale for the winter. I sold some at farmer’s market and have given away bags of it. I do not know if that is typical for kale, but it has been the plant that keeps giving. Some of the plants went to seed, so I have harvested and saved seeds to plant in the future. The seeds are tiny and round- amazing the abundance that comes from such a small seed.
Another hardy plant is Swiss chard. I planted some in the spring and have harvested all summer, and the plants continue to bear this fall. I have really enjoyed this green as it kept producing right through the heat of the summer, and the leaves were not strong-tasting like some greens get when it is hot or dry. Also the chard did not receive damage from slugs or insects like some of my plants did.
A new-to-us vegetable was baby choi. When I planted it in the spring, it began to flower before I realized it was ready; so I allowed the choi to go to seed and collected the seeds to plant next year. Some seeds must have dropped though, because several plants came up in the late summer. So now, we are harvesting baby choi as well.
Another green I tried was mesclun mix. Planted behind our heat pumps, where the soil is kind of thin and pebbly, it did not produce very well. I did harvest a few leaves; but because it is a mix, some of the greens began to flower before the others were really ready. As summer waned, I kind of ignored the plants. Two weeks ago, I was surprised to find lots of large leaves. I decided to cut some, and the leaves have been quite tasty in stir-frys.
Last week, I planted some spinach and lettuce seeds, hoping for a fall crop of each. I was surprised that in less than a week, the seeds had sprouted. We ate our own lettuce for most of the summer by planting a crop in March and one in June.
Experimenting with seeds, working in the soil, harvesting a crop: these tasks remind me of sharing our faith in Jesus Christ. Sometimes we see an immediate response in others; but often, the message is planted in what seems like poor soil. The initial crop may not be much; but then, up springs a harvest. Some seeds are dropped without our awareness, and then we are surprised with a crop. Some small seeds produce abundance beyond what we ever expected. The seeds are the Word of God and our testimony through words and actions. The crop and harvest are new believers in Christ. We must do our part in planting, and God will work out His unique plan for the harvest.