The $100 Tomato

The $100 Tomato

Every year since the kids were small we’ve planted the most pathetic garden you’ve ever seen. Each spring I say, “This is the year I start my garden from seeds”, but time slips away and the next thing I know I’m going to the nursery to buy plants in pots, hurriedly scrape clear a section of weeds, and embed the plant into the cold hard earth. There the insects, the occasional rabbit, and the weather work their magic.

In the end there are the plants that go wild and the plants that wither, and between the two a few wretched vegetables are produced. I call them $100 tomatoes, because of the ratio of investment to actual food that hits the table.

Last year I was shamed into getting a book on square foot gardening. You build four-by-four foot boxes and fill them with soil, and plant everything in there neatly. I figured there would be less chance of me destroying things if I followed the plans.

I read all I could, and watched a couple of TV shows on square foot gardening. I was psyched! This was going to be the year that we ate food from our own garden–real food, not just a single specimen!

I also decided if I was going to do this I’d need to do it right. I took down the fence around our old garden, moved it over about ten feet, where I thought it would get more sun light, and put up a seven foot deer fence. I dug up and graded the area. I went to the local Lowes and purchased lumber and screws, and built boxes. It took a surprising amount of time to do all this, and after I built the boxes, lined the bottoms with weed block, bought soil, peat, and vermiculite, mixed it all and partially filled the boxes, I ran out of time.

Well, to be precise, I ran out of free time. Four weeks passed where I didn’t even get to go in the backyard and look at the garden, let alone do any work. It was now the end of May and high time to go to the nursery and buy some plants. It looked like this year we’d have $300 tomatoes.

To my surprise, someone had planted the garden for me! There were rows of tomato plants in a box, pumpkins in another box, onions and cucumbers in another. I thanked my wife who denied doing it. I thanked the kids, who denied doing it. I talked to neighbors. Nothing. After careful investigation, it turned out nobody had done it. I decided the only explanation was a miracle.

Of course my non-believing friends came up with all sorts of explanations. There were seeds left over from previous years (how they self-seeded this year in a different part of the yard is a mystery). There were seeds in some of the compost I used (perhaps, but how did they segregate themselves into the boxes, and arrange themselves mostly in rows?). And the top question left unanswered was, if this was a natural event why didn’t it ever happen before or since?

My non-believing friends say that all of these things that happen to me are merely coincidences. Then they turn around and ask why these good coincidences only seem to happen to people who believe in God. My believing friends call these “God-incidences.” Some are simple, like taking a wrong turn, only to run into someone who needed your help. Some are elaborate, like my miracle garden. But they are out there.

Someone wrote, “A coincidence is an event in which God chooses to remain anonymous.” I firmly believe that. In fact, I’d go so far as to say there are no real coincidences. For if God has even counted the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7) why should we think He would let even the smallest detail escape His notice?

So my challenge to you, dear reader, is to look at every event in your day and see the hand of God writing in your life. Not all the events will be obvious, like my miracle garden. Not all will be welcome. Some may be a trial. But each thing God brings into your life is something He intended to help bring you to Him, it you choose to let it.

Copyright © 2013, Michael Lindner

Michael Lindner

Michael Lindner

Mike is a scouter, a science geek, a dad, a husband and a Catholic. He earns a living as a software engineer in beautiful New Jersey. In his spare time (ha ha) he muses at his blog What Does Mike Think? He is not a writer (which will be painfully obvious after reading his posts) but feels called to apologetics and evangelization anyway. You have been warned.

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