Grow Where You are Planted

I recently shared this on my Instagram account. I decided to share it here because I think it is important to recognize those object lessons we find in the garden… or in this case… out of the garden.

Found by my back door…a Bok Choy plant which planted itself. It takes a beating, but I leave it there to remind me to grow where I am planted…despite the hard days I have.

Sometimes in life, we don’t feel we are where we should be. We seem to be getting beat up. We seem to be in the wrong place. But, I believe we sometimes walk these times in our lives because God wants us to grow despite our circumstances.

May we all grow where we are planted!

*If you have a garden object lesson you would like to share here, contact us at

Growing in the Garden: Determinate or Indeterminate

Tomatoes – Determinate or Indeterminate

Did you know there are two distinct types of tomatoes?  Tomatoes grow in two different ways.  The two types of plants are referred to as determinate and indeterminate tomatoes.  Here are some differences that I have found.

Determinates grow for their growing period and put on fruit all at once.  The plant has a definite limit to its growing capacity or ability to put on fruit.  This is a type of tomato that you would like to have in your garden if you are choosing to can your tomatoes.  You will get a large crop all at once.  They do well being supported with tomato cages.


Indeterminates do not have a limit to its growing capacity, except by its external physical limitations.  Indeterminates will continue to grow, as long as they are supported and the weather allows.  These vines have been known to grow up to 12 feet or longer.  They grow best with a strong support system so the long vines do not break.  These plants put on tomatoes at regular intervals, so if you only have a couple plants, you will need to be creative with your planning for preserving your tomatoes.  If you have a lot of these plants, you will have a continuous supply of tomatoes for processing, eating fresh, and sharing.

What type of tomato plant you choose will be largely determined by your garden space, your ability to support the plant and your plans for the fruit.

I find that for canning, I like a paste or Roma tomato or a smaller round tomato like Marglobe.  Many of these are determinates (but not all of them).  I like the determinate varieties because they all come ripe at one time so I can pretty much be done with tomatoes in a 2 week period of time.  This is wonderful for canning purposes.

For fresh eating, I like to have tomatoes over a longer period.  I have found that indeterminate varieties are wonderful for this purpose.  As long as you keep the tomatoes picked, they seem to continue to produce until the end of your growing season.  These plants are good to get in early in your garden season so you have a longer continuous supply.

Over the years, the seed companies did not always (and still do not) mention whether a tomato variety is a determinate or an indeterminate type of growing tomato. Gardeners would get jealous over their neighbor’s tomato plants that grew 10 feet tall, while their own remained at a meager 4 feet height.  Others watched as some picked a large crop for canning purposes and they were struggling to find enough tomatoes to get a batch for canning.   I have been in both categories and it wasn’t until the last couple years that I finally discovered this interesting fact about tomatoes.

So, what can we learn from the types of tomatoes?

We each have different styles of growing and producing fruit.

A typical evangelistic campaign of sending out flyers and having a 3-4 week long session of meetings produces a crop of believers that we work with to produce a harvest.  Does it work?  Yes.

We also have another style of witnessing in which we put out feelers and have Bible studies with a smaller group, but on a more continuous basis.  It produces fruit often in smaller quantities, but in a more continual pattern. Does this work?  Yes.

In our homeschool setting, we will find that some children thrive with a large motivated project while others thrive with smaller more steady forms of input and output expectations.

Each style has its own type of work associated with it and its own expected response of success.  I have learned there are benefits to the two different types of tomatoes for my home garden.  I believe there are also benefits to the different styles of sharing Jesus with those we meet, to the learning styles within our families/homeschools, and to the style of teaching (sometimes switching it up is better for obtaining a different response). Knowing the growing style of the plant helps you to care for it better; knowing the learning styles of those around us, helps us to help them grow better, as well.

To learn more about determinate and indeterminate tomatoes, see the link below:

Should You Grow Determinate or Indeterminate Tomato Plants? 

Please share more spiritual insights that determinate and indeterminate tomatoes bring to mind with you in the comments below.

Growing in the Garden: Rhubarb

Old patch of rhubarb, 3 plants

While working at Farmer’s Market several years ago, we met another vendor who shared with us a great tip for reviving an old patch of rhubarb.  I hadn’t had a chance to try it out until last year and I am pretty excited about the results!

Tip:  Rhubarb plant roots will continue to thicken and twist around one another.  Heavy picking can increase the timing of this process.  This will decrease the productivity of the plant.  To keep the plant healthy and to increase yields, you will want to dig up the roots and divide your plant in early spring…just as the buds are coming up, but before leaves begin to open.

Last year I divided two older plants into 10 new plants.  (If you have no room for that many new plants, consider giving some away to your neighbors or friends).  This year I divided 3 plants into 20.

You will need to dig about a foot away from the plant and dig down at least a foot to 18 inches to get underneath the established roots of the plant you intend to divide.  After digging it up, you will want to divide it into smaller pieces.  Twist the roots to try to divide with minimal breaking.  I found I still heard roots breaking and snapping off, but the plants still all grew back.  I tried to keep each clump with at least one bud (up to 2-4 buds) with some roots connected to it.  Plant in a new hole, like you would for a bush, dig a hole twice as wide and much deeper so that the soil is not as compacted around the new transplant.  Keep the buds at ground level as they were before. Fill soil under and around the transplant.  Rhubarb enjoys full sun and even partial shade (if you are trying to figure out where to place them in your yard).

This first year, do not pick from the new plants, let them get established.  The second year, pick lightly so you do not stress the transplant.  The third year you can pick as heavily as desired.

I stood the same distance from an old patch above (first picture in this post) and the 2nd year transplants below.  You can visibly see how much healthier the transplant is.  It has larger leaves and longer thicker stems.

I thought of a few spiritual applications as I was writing this post.  I will share a couple below, but I invite you to comment additional thoughts, as well.  This helps all of us to recognize spiritual thoughts in nature/gardening and we can share these with our children, too.

*We can wear ourselves out by too much work and not enough rest, just like over-picking can decrease the productivity of a rhubarb plant.

*Challenges in our lives can be like the dividing of the plant and help us grow to be more productive.

*It reminds me of the Stewardship of Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30.

* One plant can supply our family with a couple rhubarb desserts or a batch or two of jam .  If I divide that plant into 5, I now can share with others and still have plenty for us at home.   When I share of what the Lord has given me, He will bless what is left and often you will find what’s left is enough to supply our needs.

Please share your additional thoughts below.

Growing in the Garden, Introduction

As in the case with most things we tackle, if we stand back and look, we find there are many lessons to be learned and pondered in just about everything we attempt.  One place we are told there are many ways to learn is in the garden.


The system of education instituted at the beginning of the world was to be a model for man throughout all aftertime. As an illustration of its principles a model school was established in Eden, the home of our first parents. The Garden of Eden was the schoolroom, nature was the lesson book, the Creator Himself was the instructor, and the parents of the human family were the students. Education p. 20 (read entire chapter)

For the first eight or ten years of a child’s life the field or garden is the best schoolroom, the mother the best teacher, nature the best lesson book. Education p. 208

In their gardening, question them as to what they learn from the care of their plants. As they look on a beautiful landscape, ask them why God clothed the fields and woods with such lovely and varied hues. Why was not all colored a somber brown? When they gather the flowers, lead them to think why He spared us the beauty of these wanderers from Eden. Teach them to notice the evidences everywhere manifest in nature of God’s thought for us, the wonderful adaptation of all things to our need and happiness. Education p. 119

We are starting a new series on our blog about gardening called “Growing in the Garden”.  In this series, we hope to share some simple gardening advice and some object lessons that can be learned with some observations in the area we are mentioning.  We would love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to add to the comments any added discussion on the topics presented.  The challenge is for us to learn to recognize true learning and how to teach with real experiences in the garden.

We are open to submissions in this series, if you would like to write about some of your gardening experiences.  Submissions from parents and your children (students) are welcome.  Please contact Ann for more information on how you can share your experiences.  Just email and we will forward any blog requests to her.