Three months into the growing season for the Mustard Seed Garden and we are astounded by how much produce our garden has thus far yielded. Whereas our garden last year produced a sum total of 650 pounds, we have—as of July 25th—harvested 922 pounds. We attribute this remarkable increase to two factors: (1) the expansion from twelve raised beds to twenty-four, and (2) the reconfiguration of our original twelve beds. Whereas last year we participated in a field experiment that saw our beds divided between six-inch, twelve inch, and eighteen inch beds, we this year leveled each bed off at twelve inches. The data from last year’s experiment showed that there was not a substantial difference in yield between the twelve inch and the eighteen inch beds; however, the data revealed a quite substantial difference in the yield between the six inch and the twelve inch beds. Thus, by leveling off each of the beds at twelve inches this year, we have already been able to increase the yield of those twelve beds by nearly 30%.
Meanwhile, with each passing week we see more community participation with the little fee library stationed in our garden, and we see more and more people spending time in the garden praying, meditating, reflecting, and sharing meals together.
Looking forward, our garden board is now considering various possibilities for next year, and we have been in conversation with a local university about potentially using our site for the creation of a new Religion and Environmental Sustainability course. We are likewise considering how our garden might synergize with a new transitional housing ministry we are beginning at First Baptist Corbin next year. The potential for both of these projects is extremely exciting for us, particularly as we reflect on the way this site was but an abandoned car lot only two years ago!
In sum, we are enjoying the way this little project—this little project that was as small as a mustard seed when launched last spring—is continuing to grow in new and fascinating ways: ways we could never have conceived when first we committed to planting a garden two years ago.