A Word to the Wise: Forget chicken soup, gardening feeds the soul

By: Tom Rupp
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Bill Wiggins, my friend from Virginia, jokes that I once got three sermons out of single tomato plant. I think that is a bit of an exaggeration but having said that, here comes another update from the garden as we swing into the autumn. Yes, it is September. The Healthy Kick tomatoes are still going strong. The recent heat spell brought out a new batch of this oblong variety. The Yellow Pear tomatoes are going wild. These little wonders resemble a small yellow light bulb. You can pop them right off the vine and eat them. I did that for the first time ever last week. It’s the Early Girl tomatoes that are struggling for warmer weather. Or maybe it just needs time. The cucumbers have been slow but steady. Again, the hot weather has been good to them and they reward seasonally hot temperatures. The pomegranate tree is having its best year ever. In the past it has yielded up to 14 or so of its ornaments. This year, however, it has doubled in size and production. I counted 25 pomegranates currently ripening. Last winter I pruned it back and this must be the result. We even have four little peppers, green and red. But that is all of the good news. My lemon tree was hit hard by last December’s unusual local frost, but it has come back strong with lots of new branches and large plastic-like leaves, but no fruit. Not yet. Maybe next year. Finally, the new blueberry bush is hanging tough but is still fruitless. I had a friend in North Carolina named Durwood Hall who had 10 large blueberry bushes. One late summer afternoon when I visited, he handed me a grocery bag and pointed out to the bushes and said, “Fill it up.” What a memorable experience. All of this activity is coming from such a relatively small yard. Gardening is good for the soul. It keeps one close to the earth, to the simplicity and frailty of things. Think of it — two inches of topsoil feed the world. For the Christian it is an object lesson of how God deals with each of us (see John 15:1-8). Like a garden, life has its seasons and soon it will no longer be fruit bearing season. Until then, however, each day is a new adventure bearing more surprises as we go out looking for what is hanging on the vine today. Tom Rupp is a Bible teacher at Capital Bible College. He can be reached at or through his blog at