First strawberries

When it comes to weather, you take what you get. Yet if I could order a perfect day, I’d order the 75- degree, blue-skied beauty we enjoyed today. And besides the glorious conditions, I picked my first strawberries of the season. My yield thus far is only one cup, but the strawberries are nice and range in size between a nickel and a quarter. Considering where I started, this is huge!

I began my patch three years ago. Each year the plants multiplied and the berries increased in size, but last year I experienced problems with bugs, depleted soil and a horrific weed, which I call Satan’s counterfeit. I was able to deal with the pests and build up the soil with fertilizer, but the bogus berry was another issue.

This weed not only grows in the same plot, it sets its roots so close to the real strawberry plant that it is difficult to separate them. I lost some of my best plants trying to do so. The weed’s leaf appears almost identical to the real plant, and it flowers and bears fruit that resembles a smaller version of those I’m seeking. The problem is the fruit on these counterfeits is very bitter. Take my word for it. You don’t want it in your garden. It will take the best nutrients from the soil and choke out the good plants. I was hoping that last year I’d have enough berries to make jam, but instead the weed prevented the good plants from producing at all. Once I discovered what it was, I tried to remove it, but it’s a sneaky devil. If it has an inch, it will take a mile. It took a lot of work to get it out and even with my best effort, a remnant remained.

I’m sure botanists have a scientific name for this sham of a strawberry, but I chose the name Satan’s counterfeit because it illustrates how Lucifer tries to get close to those who trust Christ as their Savior. Satan appears as an angel of light but the fruit that results from following him is as bitter as wormwood.

For me, gardening is more than a pleasant past time or stress relieving therapy. I love it because of the life lessons I learn. In this case, I want to be sure to follow the Lord because it’s too costly in life and the garden to choose Satan’s counterfeit.

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