A Tale of Two Greenhouses

Play/Pause Stop
O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. —Psalm 104:24, NKJV

My friend, Joanne, and I have houses next to each other, and we both have greenhouses. They are nothing special—not conservatories full of lush tropical plants and wicker furniture with luxurious cushions. Our greenhouses are practical.

They are meant to extend the brief growing season in Alberta, Canada, and to keep plants safe during pounding hailstorms. Both were built about thirty years ago when a nearby school was making renovations. Joanne and I each salvaged seven huge old windows.

We knew they would make wonderful walls for the structures we had envisioned. But that is where the similarity ends. I am not heavily invested in my greenhouse.

I buy a few bags of manure to add to the soil each spring, and then I plant thirty tomato plants—twenty-seven better boys and three sweet 100s.

I water frequently, fertilize once, and hope for the best.

Usually, our family has plenty of predictably tasty tomatoes, great for sandwiches or nibbling straight from the plants. Often, they are still ripening when the temperatures drop. Picked and stored in the basement, they provide better-than-store-bought fruit into December. I am content, happy even. But Joanne loves her greenhouse.

She renews the soil each year, digs it in carefully, and experiments with new methods of enriching the mixture. She selects a variety of tomatoes, many of them heritage types. Black Krim jostles with mottled yellow and red hillbilly; the green and brown globes of chocolate stripes are neighbors to the bright red, indented forms of Italian heirloom tomatoes. She is not always sure about their texture or taste when she plants the seeds, but she is ready to experiment, to be surprised, to enjoy. Each year she plants several new types.

She also plants lettuce, basil, chard, and flowers that encourage pollination. Her greenhouse is an ever-changing adventure, and all her plants bring gladness to the heart.

When I look at our greenhouses, just fifty steps apart, I see the differences.

Mine is utilitarian, but hers is vibrant, full of experimentation and color, yielding a rich harvest for the table and the soul. I do not know that my greenhouse will ever resemble hers, but I hope my life will reflect her greenhouse—full of abundance and replete with the zest for new adventures and experiences.

Denise Dick Herr

Matutina para Android