Sprouts of Real Food

After paying $5 for a small bag of red onions, all I could think about was, “I can’t wait to start my garden!” 

(butterfly pollinating our cherry tree)
A garden not only provides a large family with a bountiful harvest of fresh fruits and veggies, but it does wonders for saving a large amount of money.  Over the winter, I experimented with winter gardening and was pleased to find out that it was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be.  No, we weren’t by any means living off our winter garden, but I was pleased that my plants didn’t freeze or die.  I was encouraged that it is indeed possible to grow food in the winter.  We ate some of our broccoli and I harvested a very small cabbage of which I was very proud of.  Most importantly, I learned a great deal of what to do and what not to do.  It was a nice start.  However, this spring and summer, I am getting serious about big time gardening.  It is becoming a necessary part of life!
In a few days, I have finished off that $5 worth of onions.  It takes no time at all to plow through the produce.  I don’t skimp on produce because I believe that it is vital for keeping my children healthy.  Yet, at the same time, the amount of produce this family can use is astonishing and if I were purchasing it via the grocery store on a regular basis, it is foolishly expensive!
The benefits of a productive garden:

  • Lots of vegetables and fruits available to you at home, not shipped from China or travel over many miles… 
  • Nutrient dense foods.
  • Because of the bounty of fruits and vegetables, I will utilize more of these healthy foods in our diet.  If the produce is around, I can use it.  This adds huge health benefits. 
  • Huge savings on the grocery bill.   Even a small garden can save a lot of money.  I cringe at paying $2 for a head of lettuce when I know how easy and inexpensive they are to grow. 
  • Having food that is without harmful pesticides. 
  • Protecting your family from GM (genetically modified) foods that are greatly increasing in the market.  Labeling of these genetically modified foods is also not mandatory so in many cases we do not even know what has been altered.  In the coming years the GM issue will only become a bigger issue and the importance of pure, heirloom or non-hybrid seeds will become even greater. 
  • Work – The work and labor of producing food is a greatly rewarding experience.  This is the deterrent for many…the work and time involved.  It does take work and time.  God put Adam and Eve in a garden to take dominion and rule over it and to work.  We need to embrace our work and expect some things to just be….hard work.  Work is good. 
  • As home schoolers, we use the garden, as we use many things, to expose our children to real life.  Many times “education” is so sterile and useless.  Because we are whole life homeschoolers, we use life as the school room and utilize every opportunity we have available for a learning experience.  I heard my 6 year old tell his 4 year old brother, “Come on, let’s leave the bees alone, they’re not done pollinating.”  So while my kids may be working with me in the garden during “school hours”, we count that work and learning far more beneficial to them than learning about a garden from a workbook in a fluorescent lit classroom with 30 other foolish peers.  

Garden Starting Tips:

  • I highly recommend checking out the book Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza
  • Use non-hybrid seeds.  
  • Try gardening in large planter pots if you are limited on space. 
  • Try culinary herbs.  I grew a pot full of chives and it lasted for 4 years until my cats dug it up recently.  Chives repel pests and they will come back for years, so they are low maintenance. 

(pictured above are some of my seed trays — I have various herbs, squash, cucumber, lettuce and brussel sprouts.   I just purchased a large amount of heirloom seeds that are awaiting my attention.)


  • Candace says:

    Hi Bethany,
    Wow, I am so motivated to begin a garden, something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. We did try to grow some tomatoes and carrots once, but failed due to positioning of the garden. I will get the book you have recommended. Do you make your own compost? I love the idea of making my own, but had been afraid of having a compost pile in my small backyard UNTIL I saw one of those big plastic barrel “things” that you simply add to it and give it a spin. Also, what are your tips for organic growning, but keeping away the bugs?
    Thanks for the much needed encouragement. I’ll be waiting for any additional tips you may have. I SO understand paying too much for red onions. We LOVE red onions and, of course, they happen to be the most expensive. A family of our size, with limited resources, SHOULD be growing our own produce! Thanks again!
    Candace in San Antonio

  • sarah says:

    sounds very cool!

  • sarah says:

    [the butterfly picture is so pretty!]

  • Bethany says:

    i will comment on this in a blog post….

  • Jana says:

    Why do you automatically call all kids in public school “foolish”? Aren’t you supposed to be a Christian? Are you saying every parent who doesn’t believe as you do is raising foolish children? Didn’t Jesus teach us to be non-judgemental? How do you know he would be sitting in a classroom with thirty “foolish” kids? Do you know every child in every public school across the nation? Your statement is as racist as calling all Jewish people “cheap” or all African-Americans “criminals”. It is rude and judgemental. It also simply isn’t true and you have no right judging every child in America who attends a public school.
    I find it to be very hypocritical that someone who professes their Christianity so loudly is just as willing to judge others.
    You might want to think about that… there is a Christian holiday this weekend and you might want to try to act a little more like a Christian. Take some time and reflect on what being a Christian really means.

  • Bethany says:

    I had to go back and reread my post to figure out how I suddenly became labeled as a racist from a GARDENING post! But because this topic is such an important one, I will post a comment.
    The Bible, the foundation of all Christian thought, says:
    “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; But the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15).
    Foolishness is bound in the heart of ALL children and the rod of correction — spiritual correction, academic correction and physical correction is necessary to remove the fool out of the child.
    Put any child in with a group of peers and you will soon see a bunch of fools…like it or not… children are foolish!
    Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” As Christian parents, we train our children in the ways of the Lord. We pull out those weeds in the child’s heart on a daily basis, always pointing them back to their Savior and Redeemer. We teach what the Word says about being righteous and being foolish.
    Deut. 6 is a foundational passage for who should be training our children.
    Since, I originally was not focusing on “public” school in general, I will, however, add some comments.  My original thoughts were how silly it is of us to think that anything other than a typical classroom is not the proper way to “school” our children.  I have found much freedom in thinking outside the box of what is typical and find much joy in educating my children in a variety of ways… sometimes it is through sit down book work, other times it is outside in the garden.  The point is to break away from that caging mindset that says, if your children are not sitting in a typical classroom, they are not being “properly” educated.  This is simply not true!
    Specifically in regards to public school, as Christians, we are admonished and warned from the scripture to flee the fool and the mocker.  The public education system as a whole is a set up institution with the purpose and goal to indoctrinate our children into neutered statist non-thinkers and can not be supported from scripture.  As Christians, we are not free to think for ourselves what is right and what is wrong.  God’s Word is the standard.  If a state institution teaches evolution, gender neutral ideas, anti-Biblical worldviews, revisionist history, false science, false religion, impurity and a host of other lies that are antithetical to God’s Word, we as Christians can not gain wisdom and understanding from this God-hating system of humanistic reason.  Psalm 1
    Proverbs 1 (actually the entire book is excellent for a study on fools, folly, wisdom and righteousness) 
    Proverbs 9:10, Ps.33:8-12, Ps.34 –too many to list. 
    The public education system is not a neutral topic, it is a dangerous Babel-system of man that seeks to dethrone God through humanism by capturing the minds and hearts of our children.  It is a serious subject that we should be able to communicate with all sincerity.

  • Krista says:

    To Jana:
    I am very sorry to see that you must have been hurt when you felt that children in public schools were being referred to as fools. I won’t speak for Bethany; she has explained herself already. And I do agree that ALL children are fools; I know mine are! And I think I am pretty foolish myself more often than I’d like to admit. But I do understand your conclusion and your objections. There really are a lot of homeschoolers out there, many of them Christian, that have taken on an elitist attitude about homeschooling. They may fall into it out of defensiveness because homeschooling is often put down. If you homeschool your kids you have to often defend yourself against attacks. But you shouldn’t have to be an elitist to do that. All of us as parents who care have to struggle with trying to do what is best for our kids. It’s not easy. There are down sides to homeschooling, too, such as raising pampered pets, or children who have become their parents’ science projects, or children who are neglected….there are lots of pitfalls and potential problems.
    Well, I am just babbling a little here. My heart went out to you when you were upset. NOT all children in the public schools are fools. God loves all his children. Every child is precious. It also reminds me that we as Christians who do homeschool must be careful not to raise little Pharisees. That is a real danger.
    My final thought was for you to be careful. If you are a Christian, I want for you to beware of leaning too heavily on the “Judge not” command. Usually when I hear people push that point it is because they want to get away with something or don’t want to be judged for something that they know is actually wrong. If you know in the back of your mind that something is wrong, then you have already judged it (because you used your judgement)–even if you don’t condemn it in others. I am not saying that that is what you are doing here. I just thought that it seemed like you think Christians should never judge or say anything is wrong. I don’t think that that is so.
    I genuinely wish you well. May God bless and keep your heart. It is precious.

  • Jana says:

    I am sorry but I beg to differ. I don’t believe in homeschooling and you don’t believe in public schooling. I am a Christian. You are a Christian. What makes your beliefs correct and others wrong? Do you have any idea how many Christian children go to public school and do just fine and grow up to be good, strong, Christian adults?
    You say… “The public education system as a whole is a set up institution with the purpose and goal to indoctrinate our children into neutered statist non-thinkers…”
    I think that by homeschooling you are doing exactly what you are saying that public schools do… you are teaching your kids to be robots with no minds of their own. The only opinion they ever learn is from you. They aren’t allowed to have minds of their own and form opinions of their own. You teach your girls that they are to be slaves, literally, to their husbands. They aren’t good enough to warrant an education and career of their own. They are being taught to simply let their parents, and then husbands, do their thinking for them. They are to not want to spend any time enjoying themselves or relaxing… their entire life, every minute, is to be spent serving their husband in every way.
    They have no idea that there is another way of life out there because you purposely keep them caged in your house so they don’t learn any differently. If you are so sure you are raising them right, you wouldn’t be so afraid to let them out in the world. You are obviously so insecure with your parenting that you are afraid that if they are allowed to spend time with anyone else but you, they will learn that they ARE smart enough to think for themselves. If you know that you are good parents and instilling good values, you wouldn’t need to keep them locked up like prisoners in your home.
    And finally… this quote… “it is a dangerous Babel-system of man that seeks to dethrone God through humanism by capturing the minds and hearts of our children.”
    COME ON… again, literally MILLIONS of children each year graduate from public and Christian schools and go on to be Christian, successsful adults and good parents with good values. Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound in that quote? I am sure you believe what you are saying because you have obviously been brainwashed also and you think you are the only parents in the world who care about and love your kids. ALL of the millions and millions of people who send their kids to public school are obviously evil, terrible parents who want their children to fall to the devil. None of us love our kids. None of us teach values and morals. You are obviously above all the rest of us… at least according to you.
    You have the opinion that you are better than anyone who believes in public school… and again, that is hypocritical and judgemental. Take the time to stop and think about your judgement of other people and think about how “Christian” you are being by denouncing everyone who doesn’t believe as you do. Do you HONESTLY, in your heart, believe that God is looking down at you with approval for the way that you judge others? You can try to fool yourself all you want and justify your actions but at some point you WILL have to face him and there will be no justification at that point. I think God will forgive a parent who sends their child to public school a lot more than he will forgive one who puts down others just to make themselves feel more important.
    Open your mind a little and realize that maybe, just maybe, you are not the authority on everyone and everything in the entire world. Maybe, just possibly, you might be wrong sometimes. I am sure you love your kids and think you are doing the best for them, but that doesn’t mean ALL parents have to raise their kids the same way.

  • Bethany says:

    This is not an argument of whether or not I believe in home schooling or public schooling. As a Christian, I believe in training and educating my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I am commanded to!
    Because the duty and responsibility of Christian parents is to train their children when they rise up, when they walk in the way, when they lie down (Deut.6)–the principle here is a Biblically distinctive education that surrounds their whole life, I am in no way free to send my children to any institution that is and was set up for the sole purpose of subverting the father’s authority in the home, indoctrinating young children into humanism and producing citizens that pay their loyalties to the state instead of God. This is not my elitist view. These are the facts.
    When a Christian lifts of the standard of God’s Word, there will be nay sayers that throw out the pseudo ball of “Don’t judge.” However, they often forget the context and ignore the whole Word of God that talks abundantly about making righteous judgments. Matthew 7 is a rich chapter full of meat in which we find the context of that “Judge not” most quotable phrase and can see how it is to be understood.
    The wonderful truth of Scripture is that it provides us with Godly rebuke, reproof, chastisement, training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequately equipped for every good work. ( 2 Tim.3:16) When our Christian brothers and sisters stray from the truth of the Word, we are commanded to lovingly reprove them, likewise, we should guard our heart to be welcoming of the reproof from the Word. We should seek to ask of the Lord, “Search me, Oh God, and know my heart; test me….See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps.139:23,24 (note: “offensive way” meaning –offensive to God!) As Christians we are required to make righteous judgments, holding everything up to the lens of God’s word, not the lens of our human emotions and feelings.
    The Scripture is our map. Herein we find the roles of men and women. We find the purpose of education and the chief end of man. We find instructions and guidelines on rearing up our children. We find the Biblical jurisdictions of the state as well as self, family and church. Simply, according to the Bible, the state has no jurisdiction in the training and education of our children. That authority is left to the family. All of life is addressed either in point, command, precept, principle or pattern by the Word. God has not left us to decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. He writes the standard, we follow, being no longer slaves to sin, but servants of Christ. Not only do we follow Christ as Christians, but we lift up the standard of righteousness in our pagan culture around us.
    I agree with you in one point…We will stand in that great and terrible day before the Lord, King of the universe to bow before His righteous judgment. I am not concerned about others views. I concern myself with my duties before God and find much rest and peace knowing that I have His Word to guide me, His reproof to correct me, His love to sustain me and His blessed assurance of eternal life to secure me. My heart is to please no man, only be obedient to and serve (yes my entire life and every minute) the One who created me and called me unto Himself. It is only here that I will find my life completely fulfilled and secure knowing that I am being led by the Sovereign King of the Universe.
    My blog is dedicated to talking about things such as why distinctly Christian, Biblical education is vital for cultural reformation, Biblical womanhood and family life, cultural issues, and the like. In my spare time I also talk about gardening, children, cooking and baking, yet in all of it, I seek to live all areas of life with a distinctly Biblical worldview.
    In Christian Love —

  • Sallie says:

    I grew up with a garden but now we are a military family and do not have the space needed for a garden. I miss it!! My children love to go to Papaw and Granny’s house and love to help in the garden that he still puts out. It’s so much fun for them! My husband even says no one can beat my mama’s canned green beans! They might not agree on everything but that they do 🙂 God bless!!

  • Krista says:

    To Jana, I know you have been offended, but you should see that you yourself are being very judgemental. It seems very clear to me that you don’t understand the concept and purpose of submission in Christianity. You are actually parroting a real cliche notion that is out there. Maybe you should read up on what Christian women who DO submit to their husbands actually think and feel about the subject. It is not like we are all idiots. Your grandmothers weren’t all brainwashed. Many women choose this way. I chose it myself after leaving a very feminist and worldly academic way of life. I find it strange, but not surprising, that you think that when someone is “good enough” they can have an education and a career. Like an education and a career are to be very highly valued. I have seen what those things can do for you, and I wouldn’t trade my home and family life for a better education or a career no matter what you offered. The apostle Paul was well educated and he looked back on his achievements and education and “counted it all as dung”. This may be foreign to you, but I couldn’t agree with him more. I know exactly what he meant. AMEN