We bought a quarter acre of North Carolina several years ago and started planning and planting gardens. The land developer scraped the topsoil and hauled it away for some reason. Here’s a sample of what he left behind. No matter how deeply I dug, the soil looked the same. Add sand and it made concrete. Add water and the stuff could suck the shoes and socks off your feet.
After losing many of our plants we learned the importance of adding amendments to the soil. We began backyard composting to produce our own organic black gold which increased our gardening success.
Just down the road from us is a garden supply business, Norwood Road Garden Center. Norwood offers plants, stone, pine bark, and a magic elixir they call #3 Blend. Here is Norwood’s description of #3:
“We also offer a special Organic Compost #3 Blended Soil that we mix ourselves, using our own special formula designed specifically to help plants flourish in the North Carolina climate.”
What does this magic elixir look like? Feast your gardening eyes on this soil.
I buy a cubic yard every year to feed my gardening obsession. This load is a Father’s Day present from Shawn and yes, she helped unload. The #3 is perfect for plants, but I mix it with my homemade compost to make it even richer. When I share a plant with fellow gardeners, they love the pot of dirt almost as much as the plant itself.
Soil matters. I believe it is the most important part of gardening, along with water and sunlight, of course. Jesus shared a parable about the importance of the soil and three of the Gospel writers recorded it for us (see Matthew 13, Mark 4, or Luke 8). Jesus knows a thing or two about growing stuff. He pointed out 4 types of soil and the results we can expect when we scatter our seeds.
- No soil – The seeds are trampled or eaten by the birds. No harvest should be expected.
- Rocky soil – The seed may germinate, but once the hot season arrives, there is no supporting root structure and the plant withers. No harvest should be expected.
- Crowded soil – Stronger, invasive plants overwhelm the tender sprout. These bullies use up the nutrients, suck up the water, and block the sunshine. No harvest should be expected.
- Good soil – Now we are doing some real gardening. Ever eat a tomato grown in your own dirt? The harvest truly brings joy.
The soil condition certainly affects the gardening outcome. We’ve had our hands in the soil and understand the message. Digging deeper into the parable, we realize the soil Jesus points to is a picture of our heart condition when it comes to receiving His Word. What type of soil bests describes my acceptance of the seeds He wants to plant? Am I ready for the Master Gardener to do His work? Can I change my heart soil to make it more hospitable to the seed?
Here is a suggested list of soil amendments for a stony heart:
- Read the right stuff
- Count my blessings
- Listen to good music
- Memorize favorite Bible verses
- Invest time with likeminded friends
- Get some exercise (I Timothy 4:7)
Preparing the soil of our heart will have a positive effect on the harvest.
Copyright © 2013, John W. Nichols. All rights reserved.