Spears from Pruning Hooks

This afternoon found me on my knees. Was I in my closet taking my deepest thoughts to the Lord? No, I was out in our garden, planting asparagus. Asparagus is a marvelous crop. Plant it once and, properly maintained, it ought to keep bearing for at least twenty years. If that’s accurate, then the 18 plants I placed in the trench today should be yielding spears of goodness until I’m nearly 80.

There’s an old joke about planting. “When is the best time to plant a tree?” “Twenty years ago.” By that logic, the best time to plant asparagus is probably two or three years ago. That means that to have the stuff on my plate this year, I’ll need to hit the market.

To get the new plants started, I had to dig a trench about six inches deep. The hardest part of that was keeping the trench running straight. From there, I separated the plants. They looked like some sort of alien squid creatures, the sort of thing that looks cute in the movies until it fixes itself to your face and sucks your brain out.

I placed those individual plants at 18-inch intervals and covered each with a few inches of dirt. That’s when I found myself on my knees. Once those were planted, I doused the whole row with the hose and waited for the spears of asparagus to appear above ground. So far, they haven’t. Two years from now, I’m hoping to see edible growth.

Had I waited until next year to plant, of course, I’d be looking another year down the road. While my patience is limited, I’m glad that the plants are on the clock now. Ecclesiastes 11:4 underscores the folly of delay:

One who watches the wind will not sow,
and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap.

If that were being written today, might it point to those who watch Netflix or look at the grocery ads? I don’t know.

We find all manner of reasons to delay the things we ought to do. Right now, having been behind on grading for weeks, I’m caught up but facing a writing deadline that will have me at the computer all this week. I finally broke down and bought a new lawnmower today so that I can get onto that job.

But it was that work on my knees that I’ve really been putting off. Now I’m not talking about crawling around the garden but about spending my time with God. If I don’t sow in that manner, I can’t hope to reap.

I have plenty of time for prayer as I wait for the first harvest-worthy asparagus spears to emerge from the soil.