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Sprouts are prophetic

April 29, 2009

I sat down on the kitchen floor last night to separate some of the sprouts into different pots, and didn’t even realize God was speaking to me.

Remember, not every seed in a packet will sprout. So we germinate them in wet paper towels, and sow three to six per little peat pot. Usually one or two will grow. Sometimes, though, you get six sprouts in the same little pot. They can’t grow that close together for very long, so you need to decide how many plants you want. If you only want a few, you pluck out all but the strongest sprout in each pot. If you want all the flowers/veggies you can get, you move some of the sprouts to peat pots of their own.

I’m of the persuasion that you can never have enough daisies or zinnias or organic, heirloom tomatoes. I re-pot. (Consequently, I think I’m going to have more Black Krim tomato plants than I can reasonably garden, so if you want one, let me know.)

So I spread newspaper on the kitchen floor, and gathered the remaining peat pots and potting soil. I grabbed a couple of the crowded-yet-strong sprouts and sat down to divvy them up.

And as I sat there on the kitchen floor, I started to think about God. Dirt has a way of inspiring me to think about God. “You’re a Gardener,” I thought. “What’s the lesson here?”

I started to break up the soil in one established pot and very tenderly lift out one small plant, and He started to talk about roots.

Moving plants is a very tricky business. Some species are okay with it – others will just die. Some can harden their roots and, with a good amount of water, extend those roots and adapt to new soil. Others simply can’t handle it. Seed packets and plant signs will usually tell you if that particular kind of plant doesn’t like to be transplanted.

Moving sprouts is stranger still. Most plants will transplant easier as sprouts than as mature plants.

The timing with sprouts is tricky because you have to wait until they’re a couple weeks strong to move them. Brand new sprouts are too delicate to move. At the same time, however, the longer you wait, the longer those roots get. The longer the roots get the more they resist new soil, and the greater your risk of damaging them when you pull them up.

Transplanting even strong sprouts requires a bit of give and take. You try to keep as much of the root system in tact as possible, but if you tear part of it (which will inevitably happen) the plant will probably be fine. It hurts progress a bit, but the plant will regrow the missing roots.

The plant sets deep, strong roots for a reason. A reason the gardener is aware of, encourages, and benefits from. The roots are there, in part, to anchor the plant. It’s their job to resist being pulled up. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to be pulled up. Sometimes a plant can’t grow to it’s full potential where it’s initially planted, and the Gardener chooses to move it.

When that happens, the ground around the sprout has to be broken up, roots have to be disturbed and even broken, but the Gardener knows that it’s worth it. It will take a little extra water and a little extra soil, but everyone – the sprout, the gardener, and even the other plants previously crowded next to it – will benefit.

I added eight new pots to the crowded table by the window, and decided that while that’s a cute lesson from the sprouts, it’s maybe just a little too trite – too general – for a good blog post.

The next morning I got laid off.

Sometimes the difference is a good, surprise ending.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tyrone B. permalink
    May 1, 2009 3:00 pm

    I highly recommend that you check out the movie “Faith like potatoes”. It went to DVD a couple of weeks ago.
    Afeter you see it, you will understand.


    • Lex permalink
      May 1, 2009 9:16 pm

      Thanks for the totally cryptic recommendation. :) Now I have to check it out.

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