This winter, as my husband and I stared out at the snow, we dreamed about planting a garden with our girls and harvesting tons of delicious veggies. We stumbled upon a documentary called Back to Eden. Basically, it highlights the benefits of planting a wood chip garden to help protect the plants, combat weeds, and lessen the need to water daily! What I really liked about the film is that the gardener, Paul, talks about how a wood chip garden aligns with God's design for nature. Though Vinnie and I are total newbies to gardening, we decided to give it a shot! Here are some things that have been helping us to garden through a God-centered lens.
Growing a Vegetable Garden
It’s the perfect time to start your veggie garden, if you haven’t already. While starting a garden can seem daunting, Paul Gautschi, founder of Back to Eden Gardening, has been a great resource for how to start organic gardening, all viewed through a God-centered lens. Check out Paul’s “How to Grow a Vegetable Garden” video for tips on how to get started!
Whether you’ve got kiddos itching to help or you’re ready to tackle it yourself, gardening is so much more than just sticking a few seeds in the dirt. We’ve been loving the “Homestead Story – Chickens, Cows, Kids, and Catholics” podcast, where Pete and Kristen dive into homeschooling their four boys, sustainable living, permaculture, Catholicism, and, of course, planting and gardening. Each episode is under an hour, and if you don’t want to listen chronologically, I’d recommend the “Deep Mulch Gardening” and “The Great Planting” episodes. Find all of the podcast episodes here!
Gardening with Intention
A beautiful way to get outside and take in the richness of God’s earth, gardening doesn’t have to be a chore; instead, turn the time into a spiritual practice. I highly recommend A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac (Use code JUSTLOVE for 15% off your entire Catholic Company order) which gives tons of tips for connecting the Catholic faith to the gardening practice with resources and gardening projects. The guide follows the course of the liturgical year, offering meditations and themes, and I love that it’s accessible for gardeners of all ages.
Caring for Home and Family
In Kimberly Hahn's new book, Graced and Gifted: Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker's Heart (use code JUSTLOVE for 15% off your entire Catholic Company order), she outlines ways that families can work together to provide for and love one another in the domestic church. With gardening, "we have the satisfaction of working diligently and then enjoying the fruits of our labors." From wisdom regarding the sacraments, to ideas of how to stay organized as a wife and mother, this book is chockfull of ideas of how we can fulfill our vocations through a God-centered lens.
Devote Yourself to Mary
1,000 times prettier than a garden gnome, consider adding a Mary, Mother of God statue to your garden as an act of devotional commitment. Is there a better way to honor our Mother than surrounding her with beautiful flowers? Making an intentional space for Mary, not just outside but also inside your home, is a special way to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin and celebrate her role in Jesus’s life. Lilies, columbines, marigolds, irises, and violets are only a few of the flowers often found in “Mary gardens”. Catholic Company has a wonderful selection of Mary statues (use code JUSTLOVE for 15% off your entire Catholic Company order), and I can’t wait to see her honored in this way in my family’s own garden this year.
Raining Down Blessings
Let’s face it, not every day is full of sunshine and gentle breezes (both in the garden and in life). On those days when the clouds feel particularly heavy and the rain seems unceasing, take time to step away and find time with God. I like to think of my Help Me Grow sticker at this time, which offers the comforting message, “I asked God to help me grow, and it started raining.” Although we may not always see God’s greater plan for us right away, it’s comforting to know that through the hard times, He’s working within us, helping us grow in what can seem like the rainiest seasons.