Our plan all along has been for our family to live off grid. Work is being done right now to get this home off grid. Putting the infrastructure together for our property has been slow going, but it’s going. Getting the water tanks to collect rain water, having the old well checked out to see if we can get it operational, digging post holes for the solar panels frame, building the wood shed to store wood for the winter to heat our home, making sure our garden can supply the food we need to take us through the winter, building a greenhouse to grow a winter crop during the winter months, all this has been very labor intensive, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. While working on our infrastructure, the daily work on the farm never stops. So our days are very long, but rewarding.
This past spring we knew the first thing to start on was to get the garden and fruit orchard just right. Designing the correct flow would make all the difference. Much study was needed on our part. We have never planted a garden that would supply our needs for a year or moved fruit trees before. This has been exciting and scary all at the same time. Lots of prayers were going up for guidance for this very important task. It always amazes me how much God cares for the small things in our lives. He really cared about us getting the design of the garden and orchard just right, to enable the right amount of yield we would need. First we moved the fruit trees.
The previous owner had fruit trees on both sides of the property which made it difficult to take care of. So instead of two small orchards we made one nice size orchard. We moved 5 fruit trees from the one side of the property to the other side, closer to the garden area. Every tree was planted according to the blueprint the angel gave to Ellen White when she lived in Australia (Selected Messages, Book 3, Chapter 44). We lined up the peach trees, the apple, pear, plum, nectarine, and cherry trees all together. Now all the fruit trees are all on one side, and taking care of them is much easier.
We knew we wanted some garden boxes, but how big should we build them? And what should we use. God showed us what material to use and how we should build the boxes. By making the boxes fit my arm reach, it would make it comfortable for me and easy to care for. So that is what we did, and boy did that work. In total we have built 14 boxes. The plan is to build 2 more. The other side of the garden would be directly in the ground that is where we planted corn and onions. We had a good harvest of both. Vernon used the tiller to make the ground garden the same width as the garden boxes, but 2 to 3 times longer. This fall we will make 2 more ground gardens and get them ready for spring planting.
Designing the garden was so much fun. We had friends from Charlotte, NC that wanted to come and help us build our garden; it was such a delight working with them, Diana and Paul Walker. Vernon and Paul picked up a truck load of wood chips from the saw mill while Diana, Soñée and I dug up weeds. When the guys got back we were all ready for them. It took all of us to spread the wood chips over the entire garden. And oh boy, it looked so good when we finished. That was a really fun day. Thanks Diana and Paul for all your help!
This summer was our test garden. We planted many things, some I started from seeds and some plants we bought from a garden center. Not everything did well, but for the most part it was not too bad. I was able to harvest quite a bit from the garden. Some we ate, and much was canned and put into the freezer. We learned so many things in gardening, how much to water some fruits and vegetables. Some we watered far too much which stunted their growth or caused fungus to grow on them and some we didn’t water enough which caused some to die or stunt their growth as well. But all in all I would call it a successful garden, why you say, because we learned so much. Isn’t that how we grow?
When I think about growing a garden and fruit orchard the care it takes to start one and to keep it, so it produces a good fruit, I think about how God grows us, (if we let him) His gentle care of us, how He rains down the showers of blessing so we can grow into good fruit. His love and mercy covers us as we are growing. In Matthew 12:33 it says, "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. When I stand in my garden I look around and see the hard work we put into making everything in that garden good, so the fruit it bears will be good fruit. Luke 8:15 says "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. I want to be that fruit, how about you?