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This year our main garden took a Sabbath Day rest. This principle comes from Leviticus (Chapter 25), and is in keeping with the entire Sabbath philosophy. As humans, we are asked to take a Sabbath Day rest once a week. In the matter of the land, it is once every 7 years (six years of pruning, planting and harvesting; the 7th year to rest). We are also called to offer the land a ‘Jubilee’ rest, which is the 50th year of planting. Some may not agree with this principle, but if you really think about it, even the land needs a chance to lay fallow for a time, in order to regroup and rejuvenate. So, now we wait. But just because I have to wait on one garden, doesn’t mean I have to stop.

Let’s face it. Our main garden has just not ever really produced well, even with making amendments. So we decided to apply the Sabbath principles, follow up the next year with more amendments, and then plant again the following year. The problem with that is this Farm Wife needs her fresh vegetables. So we tilled up a small patch behind the house.

Previously, this has been an untilled space, and the only thing that has grown here was a Gardenia bush and Elderberry. Much to my dismay, the Elderberry finally choked out the gorgeous Gardenia, so I was left with an unwanted invasive patch of what I consider a weed. It took some doing, but the Country Boy finally got most of the roots out, and with my trusty hoe, I am diligently eradicating any new growth I have found.

Yesterday, I noticed that there were three Jalapenos that were ready to be picked. My heart leaped with joy at this First Harvest. As I looked through the rest of the plants, I noticed that my tomatoes are loaded with green fruit, and the peppers are coming on strong. There is even a baby strawberry or two, even though I have been steadily plucking off the blooms in order to channel the plants’ energy into growing larger.

Only three? I know you are wondering just what I can do with only three Jalapenos. In truth, probably not much more than sauteing them for some Quesadillas or Enchiladas. But this First Harvest isn’t really about abundance or canning or eating. It represents so much more.

Three Jalapenos say to me: “Have hope.” Most anything worth having begins with a dream, and from those dreams comes hard work, patience and diligence to make it happen. The Country Boy spent a couple of days with a shovel plow pulling up roots, and then a tiller, creating a soft dirt where plants could find room to stretch their roots. The rains then came and watered them in place. I have spent time with a hoe, eradicating any weeds and keeping the dirt around the plants loose. I spent an hour sprinkling Epsom Salts around the base of the plants and working it in to give them some added magnesium to help with their fruit production. Some of my time has been spent gently untwisting the bean vines, and carefully adhering them to the trellis, so they can grow straight up, instead of sprawling over the ground and risk being trampled. Every hour I spend in my garden is an hour spent in hope.

To me, it is three small peppers. To you, it may be a phone call from a potential employer who holds the key to your dream job, or the first smile from a future friend or mate. It may seem small, or like ‘nothing’, but in reality, it could just be the beginning of something wonderful. And the second we see it in that light, our hope begins to grow. All we have to do now is to cultivate that seedling of hope, add a little water, a few nutrients and use a hoe to weed out the doubts and uncertainty. And before you know it, there will be three little jalapenos ready to pluck, and to remind you that soon, a great harvest will be ready.