Its a Dirty Job Part 3 Compost

Lets touch on the grand ol’ subject of composting. I almost cringe at the subject. Not because it isn’t important, but because the gardening industry has truly made this subject way more complicated than need be. I’ve done it, picked the right spot, put up a fence or a dug a hole or designated THAT spot in some way and started throwing scraps there. I’ve considered the multi hundred dollar spinning machine or fancy “smell proof bins” Each idea has some sort of smell, turning, watering and moving of the soil! Seriously… who can afford it or has time for all that?

Compost where you are going to plant… oh yes! I said it! Raise your hand if you have ever seen the BEST plants come up in your compost and just not have the heart to pull them?! This year, pick a new place you’d like to do something with NEXT year.

Build the bed or designate it etc and then start layering in the goodness. Turn your existing soil over, then throw scraps, and weeds etc in and cover with straw and another layer of dirt. Straw and dirt keeps the birds, mice and smell down.

Keep layering and watering all year till your bed is full. Use the soil readily available. If you have chickens add a layer of the poop you have to clean out of the coop. If you really want to guarantee success, layer in worms. Let it sit all winter. In spring don’t turn it just plant something easy like Kentucky Wonder pole beans in the last top layer of soil. They are not easily upset and add benefits to your soil as they grow. At the end of that season turn everything over with a shovel and revel in your beautiful healthy soil!

Why do we add organic matter to our soil?

Because something must die for something else to live.

Isn’t it amazing that God says so much about soil in the Bible? What about the parable of the seed and sower? Does it not describe the different kinds of soil we have? I think the only one missing is waterlogged soil. So why does organic matter help EVERY scenario? I’ll tell you. Organic is an adjective that is defined as “of, relating to, or derived from living matter”. You must have something alive and it must die for something to live.

Science says “life is derived from life”. There are only 2 times in the history of science that scientists deny this. First is the creation of the universe. How did so much life come from nothing? Second is the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus for payment of our sin thereby giving us….. life! Just because science denies these doesn’t mean they are false. Even science (which by the way is the process of observation and documentation by definition) proves Jesus. Any time we observe something in this world and document it correctly your going to find Jesus.

Science says organic matter in soil decomposes and the process of decomposition adds vitamins minerals and benefits to soil. How then do we apply this to our garden? It’s incredibly simple. Put something alive in the dirt to die and decompose.

How do we apply this to ourselves? How do we become good ground for the Jesus’ life to grow and produce fruit in us? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be rocky, or weedy or hard. The key is to die to ourselves.

What does that really mean though? If you’ve been a believer for any amount of time you’ve heard this saying. It comes from Galatians 2:20 (I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me) and many other scriptures. It means we let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:13).

Let me give you a personal example. My earthly father was a troubled veteran. He was not a good father or husband. I grew up learning to hold bitterness against him. As the Lord worked on my heart over the years I forgave him and helped him move from NY to NM to live with us. How is this dying to myself? He ridiculed my every decision, my family and my Jesus and each day I had to forgive him a fresh. My flesh wanted to rise up and declare how much better a person I was. Only I could not do that because I wasn’t. He had never accepted Jesus and when I was without Jesus I was no better. The ME in me is still no better. Jesus is the better life in me. I had to refuse my fleshy response. As I have walked thru this will Jesus, my heart has softened, my soul has been encouraged and my life has produced fruit.

If dirt could talk it probably would say that it doesn’t like being broken, turned upside down, added to and put to work. In the end though, just as we do…. it would see the benefit, feel the accomplishment and hear the words “well done my good and faithful servant”.






Its a Dirty Job Part 2


In my last blog about dirt I encouraged all of you to not let a little dirt keep you from planting something. Today I’d like to explain one of the best ways to make your dirt better!

Mulch… Mulch… Mulch… This is a concept not talked about enough. Mulch has three main jobs to do, water retention, weed suppression and soil enhancing. If the sun cannot beat down directly on your soil then your much savored water will not become relative humidity so quickly. An added benefit of sun being kept from your soil is weed seeds cannot germinate. Less well known is at the end and beginning of every good growing year is the turning over of your soil which mixes the mulch into the soil and thereby enhancing it!

Using mulch as an additional way to create micro-climates is just killing multiple birds with one mulch! Color of your mulch can be very important. Choose color by the area in which you live, area the plant will live and the overall need of the specific plant. For example, you would not want dark mulch around a lettuce patch planted on the south side of your garden with full desert sun. In contrast you would want it a the base of all your tomatoes on the south side, in full sun!

Lay mulch thick enough to disable weed seed germination. Go all out here! Less germination means less time on your hands and knees pulling pesky weeds! Enough said right?!?!


Every year at the end of the season, or at the end of a particular succession planting, turn the soil over. This goes for all your perennial beds too. It takes a little more care with perennial beds so as not to disturb to much of your roots, but well worth it. I moved 4” deep mulch in a friends garden bed to find the dirt underneath impenetrable. This of course is going to make most water run off and limit the expansion of roots, which in turn limits the health of a plant. Though it seems like a waste to have to re-mulch every year, the more you turn your beds the deeper your nutrients and composting mulch can be effectual. A bonus is changing up the scenery!

Mulch should change every year keeping a minimum of a 3 to 4 year rotation. Thankfully there are varying mulches in every color! Each with its own benefit to the soil when composted. My mind boggles when I try to research all the ins and outs of different decomposing mulches. Here’s the idea, as with a varied human diet you introduce a wider arrangement of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to your body… so as with a varied mulch diet for your dirt! Even some food scraps make great mulch like coffee grinds and crushed eggshells. If there is a particular problem you are facing, look it up, otherwise don’t get to overwhelmed by the influx of information on the subject.

Listen, the bible is pretty clear about the hard work it takes to eat. It says in Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground. Another is 2Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither shall he eat. Jesus did a wonderful and powerful thing when He freed us from sin. However sin is still an option and inherent in this world. Until He burns this world up and makes a new one, we are going to battle with inherent sin. For example, I’m certain this fallen world is responsible for noxious weeds and pesky bugs! We can win though! When we approach gardening with appropriate respect for the Creator and deep understanding that life ONLY comes thru Jesus, we can see a temporary lifting of the curse and a beautiful blessing of bounty. Then the work is no longer a curse but a blessing. A type of rest, in Jesus.

I encourage you that as you work these mulch and compost concepts out in your dirt that you remember the parable of the seed told in Matthew 13. We are the dirt. Remember we are dust. How are we letting Jesus water us? Mulch us? Turn us over? How are we willing to hear, understand, process input and therefore produce fruit? As the sweat does drip down your face remember that Jesus puts much more work into us if we will let Him. Do not be fooled into thinking that you are automatically “good dirt”. Almost all dirt will grow something…. what are you growing?

See you in the dirt!


Country Cuties

These are our Country Cuties

In an attempt to keep them growing, learning, and searching out gifts Jesus has created in them we have introduced many crafts, animals and plants to these cuties. Here are some of the things they’ve learned how to do!

Some of these take a little more help from us than others such as lip balm and lotion bars. I’m confident though that in due time they will craft those all on their own also!

These crafts have proved to be fun and educational. So far they’ve learned that quality counts and hard work is the only thing that pays off.  My husband and I had to learn much to too late that if “work” is something you like to do it’s not “work” at all. Although, work is still work. You can’t get something for nothing. They are quickly learning that a “job” is something someone doesn’t want to do, can’t do or don’t have time to do and therefore people pay you to do it.

My husband and I are also learning that children can not learn money management if there is no money to manage. With an initial investment from dad they are learning how to budget for product replacement, save for big purchases and manage spending money.

If you like anything you see or would like to re-order something you tried please email or call us. We would be happy to deliver or ship!

Jeanine Parks