Growth in winter

Over the last few years I have begun to do a bit of gardening. Yes the dreaded 4-0 is heading my way soon. I can’t remember how it started, but I knew I couldn’t grow anything or plant anything in the garden as the dog would destroy it. So I decided upon getting a whole load of plastic planters and filling them with compost.

I didn’t realise the satisfaction of eating stuff that I had grown. The first year I managed to grow tomatoes, though most were green, the second and third years I have planted salads, spring onions and lettuce, herbs, betroot, and enjoyed the season of planting out in the spring to see how things would take shape over the summer. Last year I was given a chilli plant cutting which, in my sunroom yielded over 100 chillis and from them

Made chilli jam and sweet chilli sauce, as well as chutney from the apples on the trees. This autumn I wanted to keep the process going, instead of waiting until spring to try and grow from seed I’ve planted bulb instead. And so, over the coldest of winter days, darkest of days, there has been signs of movement and growth, as two stable crops in my kitchen have begun to grow. Garlic and onions, (to go with the now cut back and ready to grow again chilli)

In the darkness and cold, life can still occur, it’s hardly least expected on one hand as the instructions said to plant them in autumn. But there’s been growth in the winter, and 19 onion shoots are taking effect, as are the shoots from 3 garlic bulbs.

There are parallels here. Of course, I have been reading Leonardo Boff reflections on St Francis, who says that the place of the periphery and small is the place where Jesus is to be found. More likely dancing in the darkness and pointing towards the light. With the marginalised. Faith in unexpected places and growth from those encounters.

It is possible to plant in autumn and winter, it just needs to be more hardy a bulb and not a feeble seed. It is noticeable that Jesus farmer did not sow bulbs, bulbs that almost guarantee growth, (Though I’m not a gardener so don’t assume any real knowledge here) at least growth in winter. The talk of the town is of a difficult place, a cold place to be christian. In that case, it’s bulbs that need planting in winter. Faith that has a hardiness to cope. Seeds on the surface are unlikely to survive. But growth is possible in winter.

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