The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central.


Advent Services - 7 PM Central Time in December.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rottenness - Good for the Garden,Good for the Creatures, Good for the Soil

This is so inadequate and textbookish,
but it is a start for the unthinking thralls of Scott's Lawn and Garden,
the despairing slaves of the German chemical industry.

I found a Sharon Lovejoy book at Cracker Barrel and paged through it quickly to check about adding it to my list. Two items alone made it worthwhile to purchase later. One was a crow trap for the corn patch. The other described the effect of a pile of leaves left to rot.

Lovejoy combines extensive observation and experience with research to get a lot of worthwhile content on each page. One brief section noted the effect of rotting leaves. They foster the growth of bugs that prey on other bugs - and I forget which. By design, the presence of bugs will attract birds who feed on them.

Gardening books have been one-dimensional at their worst and two-dimensional at their best. The new emphasis on soil microbiology and its support of the food chain has changed this, so gardeners can see and foster the three-dimensional approach. Everything matters, but the foundation is the first part of the effort - feeding the microbes.



Food Attracts the Eater
One principle is simple. The food attracts the eater and denying food keeps the eater from settling down for a meal. When I put together a small pond, a dragonfly showed up - as if by magic. Dragonflies love still water and the life below and above that water. Below - the dragonfly nymphs devour their food. Above, they dart around and capture the quickest creatures.

We always want to rake up the leaves, haul away the cut grass, yank the weeds, and throw away the rotting wood. Each is a component in feeding bacteria, mold, micro-organisms, and the larger creatures.

One book wrote up what I observed - put down wood mulch and the spiders show up to cast their webs and feed on insects. As soon as it warmed up - before the snow - the silken threads were showing on the rose bushes. They will return because I use no sprays at all in the garden or yard. Why kill the predators of the bugs when the Creator has this all sorted out already?

We all know that a lot of food has to be ready for five or fifty people to come over. If we want them to stay, the food supply has to be increased. Our helper wants to take away the maple leaves resting on the rose garden mulch. Instead I am going to bet that the leaves will be gone soon enough, devoured by the soil creatures below. They will digest all the mulch in time, but leave behind a mass of fungi, earthworms, bacteria, protozoa, springtails, sowbugs, centipedes, and millipedes.

That is why many advocate leaving rotting logs along the perimeter of the garden. Queen Elizabeth does the same, encouraging fungi in her private gardens (forbidding all inorganic treatments). The infinite dependencies of the soil begin with fungus, the ultimate decomposer and transporter of nutrition.



This management goes on without our thinking about it, although we can enhance the effect with more organics, more native plants, more weeds, and more mulch. We also also block as much as possible with inorganic fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. And yet, in our all foolishness, the power of God's Creation bursts through.

Our paltry planning is nothing compared to God's management. We cannot summon a robin or order a preying mantis to show up, but we can entice, nurture, feed, and water these helpful creatures. The less we manage with human wisdom, the more God manages with divine wisdom and power.



That should carry over to the work of the Christian Church, but we have too few farmers and gardeners today. Seminarians should be required to build a compost pile, garden, and bird watch. For the summer they could be required to study insects and arthropods. No one should graduate with an MDiv without
  • knowing what a springtail does, 
  • reading An Agricultural Testament
  • or growing a garden without the 'cides.
Then, if a church council member whines that "our congregation needs to grow," the new pastor can ask:
  1. "Have we planted the Seed, the living Word, and watered it? 
  2. Have we taken the time to dig it and dung it?"
  3. Have we remembered Who gives the growth?"

1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.