Oct 082014
 
mff-email-header2014-10-08“Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:12,13Throughout the year I’ve had several thoughts on various topics and wanted to share them in farm updates… Unfortunately it seems like life is busy and at times I don’t know how to properly prioritize things and allow “good” things to take up the time that I should be doing the “best” things. Comparisons of our lives and seeds, plants either growing or dying etc. are just a couple of the topics I’ve missed the opportunity to share.2014-10-08Plow
This time I want to take a few moments and share a thought I had recently. After repeated tillage there develops what is called a “plow pan”. It is a hard, compacted layer of soil formed at the bottom of where your implements work the soil. Over time this compacted layer of soil becomes so hard that it is impenetrable for most crop’s roots.Once plow pan is formed it is very difficult to break up and it can be really expensive to bring in heavy machinery to penetrate deep enough to get below the compacted soil and break it up.Due to the plow pan being so compacted water is not able to absorb very well below that depth, plants roots are hindered from reaching deeper moisture and minerals and over all crop production usually declines.2014-10-08Daikon2The Lord has designed a few plants that form tough penetrating roots which can break through the plow pan and allow passageways down into the soil below. One such plant is a special radish called daikon. There are several varieties within this sub group but they all do their job. Some of the daikon varieties under correct growing conditions can penetrate down 3′ and be over 1″ in diameter! Now that’s a radish!

Some farmers are now planting them in fields with plow pan and allowing them to grow to maturity before cutting them off then allowing the remaining root to rot. Once rotted the daikon root becomes organic matter to boost soil health and form a passageway for air, water, earthworms and other plant’s roots to go deeper than formerly possible.

In the same way the writer of Hebrews shows that we are to help others be strengthened. Let us “…make straight paths for your feet…” so as others follow our trail we are leading them deeper in love and relationship with Jesus Christ.

Is it always easy penetrating the hard pan in our lives? No, Jesus said, “‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'” (Matthew 16:24b) but He also will give us the strength to do this.

2014-10-08-rootsAs we serve the Lord He gives us what we need to accomplish what He asks of us…just think what it would be like trying to penetrate the hard pan without Him! We’d be like most other plants trying to dig through plow pan. Your roots would simply turn at a right angle and follow along the hard pan until you became weary, dry, malnourished and ultimately give up producing a meager harvest at best and non at worst.

There is hope in the Lord for He has gone before us as the first root to penetrate the hard pan. As we follow Him we have passage into the deeper, richer, moist soils of His strength and power. When we die to ourselves and serve others we become the next rotting root that feeds and strengthens those coming behind us.

Let me encourage you to grow in the Lord and follow Jesus Christ. He has gone before us to break up the plow pan in our lives. Though it is not always easy, follow His ways and enjoy the rich depths He has for you. Grow in Him, in His root’s passage way, as you keep digging deeper…the good thing is you’ll never reach the end of His root’s path because He goes far beyond anything you can imagine!

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Farm news!

Up, down, wet, dry, hot, cold, sunny, rainy, windy and calm! Sound like Kansas yet? We’ve had it all in the past couple of months although the Lord has blessed us with an exceptionally mild summer and a beautiful early and extended fall!

Our first frost, thankfully not a killing frost, was last Saturday, October 4th. That’s a good week and a half earlier than I usually count on! While we have gotten dry and have had some mild drought this year it has been a blessing for the Lord to send relatively consistent rains throughout the summer and early fall months.

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A little over a week ago the Lord blessed me with a good friend and neighbor who attends our church to volunteer to come over and help me for part of an afternoon. I was in the middle of trying to get some cover crops planted in all the bare fallow areas before an anticipated rain. He brought over his tractor to pull the grain drill while we lightly tilled the ground with our tractor to break up the crust that had formed from a previous rain. The Lord blessed and helped us get the areas planted in oats and/or wheat and clover. Now we have a beautiful carpet of green beginning to appear!

I had broadcast and harrowed in some grass seed a couple weeks earlier in a couple of sections but apparently the seed was too old as it hadn’t come up with a beautiful rain we received after I planted it.

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The Lord has closed the door on several fall crops but thankfully we still have a few coming on! Our green beans have taken off and currently the cucumbers are doing well. I’m experimenting with some Asian type cucumbers this fall along with my usual sweet, tasty, burpless varieties. There is an explosion of beautiful bell peppers (a few reds and yellows but lots of green) and parsley now! The basil and Swiss chard are still producing fairly well also. It varies from week to week but we do have varying quantities of okra being harvested…this week it did very well!

Due to the diversity and quantity of crops we currently are only packing orders on Tuesdays but as it’s available we have produce in the cooler available for purchase throughout the week first come first served.

Yesterday we had a very good harvest and currently have Bell peppers (a few red, yellow and green), cucumbers (both Asian and burpless varieties), green beans, beets, parsley and basil available for purchase in the cooler.
I’m also currently in the beginning stages of trying to clean up some areas I have let go because I couldn’t keep up. Interesting how fast things can accumulate, weeds can grow and such when you don’t get around to them in a timely fashion!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAG-Jean and I have been canning, freezing and dehydrating all summer preserving food so we can enjoy it this winter. What a blessing it is to have our own preserved foods throughout the winter months!

Now is the time to purchase preserving quantities of bell peppers and parley if you want to preserve some for later! Currently we also have a fair amount of okra and green beans available in the cooler.

Soon frost will be coming and end our growing season. It will be time to take down the cages and trellises putting them in storage. Cleaning up all the crop residues, rolling up drip tape, doing a final fall tillage, planting a cover crop and mulching strawberries will be the last stages of putting the garden to bed for the winter months.

I miss the garden during the winter months but the Lord’s seasons are so beautiful to watch as one transitions into another…it is fun to anticipate what is next!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy 15 minute garden has continued to be a fun experiment and has done well. Since I already have a garden I figured if I could grow it then anyone can because I know the mechanics car, plumbers plumbing, electricians electrical etc. are always in need of tending to. Well, yes, I did get behind some and didn’t have maximum production from the 15 minute garden but it has produced a lot of food over the course of the growing season and is still doing well.

Lord willing I hope to compile all my notes and production records one of these days so individuals can see it doesn’t take a lot of time to produce a sizable portion of food for your family throughout the regular growing season.

Time for me to get back to work again but may you enjoy a beautiful fall day seeking to grow deeper in the depths of the Lord.

Farmer Joshua and the Mitchell crew

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