Maybe it’s my Mennonite roots, but I had a vegetable garden long before I knew that it made me a 21st century saint.  I have always eaten local and nearly organic, except for the Miracle Gro I use on my pepper plants to help them compete with their southern cousins.  This year I planted 70 tomato plants, hoping that the sheer volume would overcome the threat of blossom end rot.  If they all stay disease free, I’ll have enough tomatoes to feed my neighbors or take my revenge.  Like LeBron, I’m keeping my options open.






9 responses to “summertime”

  1. Jonathan Shelley

    “have always ate” … for shame.

    It has been a good growing season so far. Beth’s garden is bursting with all sorts of wonderful fruits and veggies, many of which we even planted. We are keeping the local wildlife well fed.

    I wonder, though… am I allowed to grow my own food and still hold to the doctrine of substitutionary atonement? I’ve been reading so much [name witheld] lately that I’m starting to believe that right beliefs and good works really are mutually exclusive. Pray for me!

  2. Jack H


    I doubt your Mennonite roots have a much to do with it as your family tree. As one who was raised both on the farm and as a Baptist, my roots on the farm have contributed more to my gardening passion. We have only about 16 tomato plants, ten peppers, yellow and green beans, radishes, but about 1/2 acre of sweet corn and 1/2 acre of various squash plants, (I would share a photo but why flaunt what amounts to a fraction of our humble plot of 40 acres). Living as we do in farm country, we have no need to feed the neighbors, and to avoid Jonathan’s plight of feeding the local wildlife I have always used a non-lethal electric fence to protect our labors. In addtion to freezing and canning from the garden we are blessed with buckets of wild blackberries and black raspberries. Lately I have been exploring uses for Autumn Olive berries. These are an invasive species that are crowding out many native species, but the berries are loaded with those wonderful antioxidants. I see no reason to leave them all for the birds and deer. The great part of enjoying all of God’s creation out here is that we get to eat both the berries and the deer, turkey, and waterfowl that eat them.

  3. mikewittmer


    I fixed it, so now your correction lacks a context. That probably was the farmer in me, coming out when I type in a hurry. Some things sound right to my ear which probably shouldn’t. I think you can still believe in penal substitution and eat vegetables if you offer a variant on the prayer offered by the Elect Manichees: “I neither plucked thee nor killed thee, but I offer thy light to God above.”


    You have everything I want in life. I’ll trade you a couple of tomatoes for a bushel of blackberries. Before you say no, remember that I have lots of tomatoes that can be used for other purposes.

  4. Chuck


    Are you sure you could hit a neighbor with a tomato? By the looks of those rows, you were more drunken than Noah when you planted.


  5. 70 – huh? We trail you by only a handful. We are hoping too that they will survive this year and bear fruit as good Christian plants (or is it Christian’s plants) should.

  6. mikewittmer


    To quote my esteemed colleague, everything goes better with beer. Actually the rows are that way because my garden fence isn’t exactly square. It curves and rounds off one corner, and I had to stagger them to fit them all in. Come to think of it, that job would have been easier with alcohol.

  7. Chuck


    You are very gracious. You maybe should have busted me for disrespecting the father of all the living and the heir of righteousness, since I brought up his failing. As for gardening: last year alone, the deer topped most of my green beans and strawberries, the raccoons ate all 5 rows of my sweet corn in one night, and my good wife has asked me to stay out of the garden, except to pick rocks and erect an electric fence.

  8. Jack H


    If your garden is large enough, electric fence is the way to go. I acquired my 30 year old fencer from the barn at my previous home. I just need to string new wire, three strands from 4” to 32”, each year to cover the section I planted that year. Minimal expense and maximum effectiveness. We have field corn growing in most of the nearby fields, but the raccoon and deer prefer the high sugar content of our sweet corn. Rather discriminating pests it seems.

  9. Hillary

    Mike: The one year I planted 25 tomato plants, a good handful of them remained spindly and we still had well over 500 tomatoes before we gave up trying to save the green ones and do something with them at the end of October. This year we only planted 21 (22 if you count the one I couldn’t throw away and shoehorned in next to the potato row) and they’re all heirlooms, so I’m hoping for a lot less volume. We gave salsa to everyone we knew and still had a year’s worth put away. I can’t imagine what you will do with all the fruit from 70 tomato plants. DON’T MIRACLE GRO THEM. 🙂

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