“Garden Plots,” Friend, May 1998, 16
“Dad, will you buy some seeds for Cindy and me?” Randy asked. “We could plant a really neat garden in the backyard.”
It was Saturday morning, and Mr. Ortez had taken the twins with him to the garden store to get some fertilizer for the lawn.
“That’s a good idea,” Dad answered. “What do you want to plant?”
“How about radishes? They grow really quick. And cucumbers too. I love cucumber sandwiches,” Randy said.
“I want some tomato seeds,” Cindy added. “Tomatoes are red and pretty.”
Dad nodded and said, “You two decide what seeds you want while I’m getting the fertilizer. You’ll divide each pack between you, so be sure to choose what pleases both of you. I don’t want any arguing about it when we get home.”
After many exclamations of “I don’t want those,” “That’s yucky,” and “Let’s get those,” Cindy and Randy finally decided on radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and green beans.
Each twin hoed, spaded, and raked until there were two garden plots turned and raked smooth. Each plot was six feet wide and ten feet long—just the right size for four rows of vegetables.
Every day after school, they made a beeline to the backyard to see if the seeds had sprouted yet. Finally, on the fourth day, there were cracks in the soil, and small radish plants were pushing their way through.
It wasn’t long before all the rows were green with growing plants. Every day the twins watered the plants. They scattered fertilizer along the edges of the rows. Cindy kept the hoe busy, too, uprooting the weeds around her young plants.
Randy had other things to do. A new boy had just moved in down the street, and they had quickly become pals. Randy watered his garden every afternoon, then hurried to his new friend’s house to play until suppertime.
One evening Cindy came running into the house with a big bunch of radishes. “Take a look at these, Mom. They’re real beauties!”
“Oh, they really are!” Mom exclaimed. “I’ll wash them, and we’ll have them for supper. And tomorrow, Randy, we’ll try some of yours.”
The next evening Randy brought a bunch of radishes to the kitchen. He hung his head as he handed them to Mom. “I don’t know why, but mine didn’t grow as big as Cindy’s.”
“Maybe it’s the soil,” Dad said. “Let’s go out and take a look.”
When they arrived at the garden, it was clear why Randy’s crop was not growing as well as Cindy’s. His rows were choked with weeds, while hers were weed-free. Her plants were green and healthy, reaching up toward the sun. The weeds in his garden were so thick that hardly any sun could reach his plants.
Dad pulled up a weed. “Here’s your problem, Randy. Plants need plenty of food and sunshine to grow.”
“But I gave them fertilizer, and I watered them every day.”
“Yes, you fed them, but you didn’t keep the weeds out. They stole water, nutrients, and sunshine from your plants. They stunted your radishes’ growth just as breaking God’s commandments would stunt your spiritual growth.”
“Well, I’m going to do something about it right now,” Randy said, dropping to his knees and starting to pull up weeds.
“Good for you!” Mr. Ortez said. “It’s never too late to get rid of weeds.”