Ever since I was a wee girl, I’ve been intrigued by nature, the animal kingdom and the intricate details therein. Because of this fascination, horses replaced dolls very early on. When novels “should” have been normal, I found myself myself reading about nature, wild animals and farm life. Makeup and boys? No thanks! How about a good camera instead, so I could better capture photos of the wildlife I loved to wait for and watch?
And need I even mention my life-long love affair with fishing?
Perhaps it’s because I spent so much time in it, but early on, I noticed the distinct and beautiful connection that exists in nature. Nothing is a unit unto itself, but instead, every single part is caught up in an intricate web of dependency and harmony.
Today I often witness this design and order as I raise our own food. In fact, I saw it all over again this spring with our tomato patch. Allow me to tell you a little tale?
My Dying Tomato Patch
When the last frost date had passed in early summer, I planted most of my tomato starts in our hugelkultar kitchen garden beds. Problem is, I ran out of space before I ran out of tomato!
What should I do with the dozen+ starts I had left over? All the planting areas with good soil were taken. In fact, the only place left was the cottage garden bed on the south end of our home. The sandy, gravely soil was nothing to brag about and certainly didn’t leave much room for hope.
Knowing it was either plant the tomatoes there or throw them out, I decided to give that garden bed a try.
The tiny, 6 inch starts went into the heavily mulched soil. There they sat over the next several weeks. Little leaves turned a deep, dark purple and began to droop. No growth occurred and I thought they were going to die.
Oh well. You can’t get it all right your first year on a new piece of land, right?
The Miracle of Dirty Duck Water
I was changing our duck’s swimming water one morning when I suddenly had a brainstorm: why not feed this dirty, manured-up water to my struggling tomato plants? They obviously weren’t getting enough nutrition, and judging by the color of the duck water, it was loaded (in every sense of the word!) with lots of nutrients!
It just might work! My plants were dying anyway. What could I lose?
Watering Tomatoes With Duck Water
I poured the dirty duck water into a 5 gallon bucket and hauled it over to my tomatoes. Not knowing how rich the stuff was, I made a point of pouring it around the plants, instead of directly on them.
By the end of that week, I’d fed my tomatoes several times with dirty old duck water. Know something? It was as if I’d found the magic touch! Tiny leaves turned vibrant green once again and the drooping plants picked themselves up as if they finally found motivation to carry on! The plants even grew a tiny bit in that time!
And me? I knew I’d discovered something I wanted to tuck away in my mental “gardening toolbox.” I’d discovered how to make and use a homemade liquid fertilizer! Not only would it work for plants growing in poor soil, but it would also come handy for giving potted plants nutrients.
While they have grown lots since the day I took the above photo, these tomato plants aren’t giants. However, they did put out blossoms this past week. They’re alive and creating life. I’m still fascinated every time I stop to think about it. Who would have thought that ducks would save the tomato plants and enable them to give us fruit?!
Once again, the intricate design and order of God’s world amazes me. And once again, I’m left delighted over the fact. Have you ever been there?