The Sabbatical Year Garden

I realize that there are some of you that are tired of hearing about the sabbatical year. Too bad! I love it. By my reckoning I am now in the 20th day of the 3rd month of the sabbatical year of the 3rd sabbatical cycle of the 119th Jubilee cycle. ((Yes, I know there are varying opinions on this but I did the math.) So, if we are in a sabbatical year what kind of garden do I have? To answer that: one that grows on its own. A garden without planting, fertilizing, cultivation, etc. Everything in it volunteered from last year’s produce. {Lev. 25:18-19} You can eat what grows of itself or on its own but you do not harvest. You take just enough for your daily needs.

Von and I seldom get the chance to travel in the Spring because it is our busiest time because of the multiple harvests that we have and the canning and freezing, fermenting and pickling that we do. Seldom do we get a break until the 2nd week of July then we head to  New Mexico to work on our place there for the summer. This year, since it was the sabbatical year, we didn’t have all that work so we could travel and visit with family (actually friends who are part of our electronic kahal, or congregation) but they genuinely feel like family.

We traveled to Illinois and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and had a fantastic time. We arrived home on 6/9/16 and the garden was 4 feet deep, or more, in weeds. On 6/12/16 I began walking the garden looking for volunteer growth. and here is some of what I found;

Tomatoes for the sabbatical year.

Tomatoes for the sabbatical year.



The tomatoes are the original Porter variety, not the Porter Improved variety. I have successfully grown Porter tomatoes since the mid-1960’s from seed that my Uncle Shirtie gave me. You can purchase it from Willhite Seed Co. ( ) Obviously, they are open pollinated seed, a heavy producer in a wide range of soils and climates. They can and freeze well and they are a staple in our garden and diet.

The okra variety is Cowhorn (the original) and I have also grown this since the mid 60’s and I received my start from my maternal grandmother, Mammaw. She maintained a 1/4 acre garden until she was 96 years old.

Me and Mammaw just a few days ago.

I have never heard of volunteer potatoes. Have you?

I have never heard of volunteer potatoes. Have you?

The potatoes were the biggest surprise of all. These were a gold nugget variety, not sure which one and they had sat around until they began to rot so I threw them out into the garden to compost and instead of rotting they sprouted. The actual amount of potatoes that I harvested were from just 2 plants. We will only keep enough for our needs and have already given some to family.

Everything for a salad with no planting.

Everything for a salad with no planting.

As you can see in the photo above I collected enough volunteer growth for a very varied salad. We have beets and tops, a big fat juicy carrot, a hamburger red (purple) onion and Bibb lettuce. I later found some cilantro I did not even remember planting last year.

As I mentioned earlier we traveled to Illinois and visited with Kathy and Scott Kirby. Scott has a wonderful diversified farms that incorporates livestock, soybeans, corn and beehives. His livestock operations uses the Australian form of cattle grazing, which is to rotate your animals in and out of improved pasture to give the animals the benefit of the best growth but allows the land to rest every few weeks. I wish I could describe it and do it justice but we were very impressed with the thought and planning that Scott has put into his operation. I was very lucky in that I had the opportunity to help Scott, just a little bit, with his chores. Kathy showed us the area that she had set aside for a garden for next year. We were impressed with the number of trees, especially cypress, black walnuts, yellow poplars and also maples, I counted 3 varieties of maples for sure. It is hard for a native Texan to admit it but their part of Illinois was beautiful.

Kathy's wild raspberries

Kathy’s wild raspberries

These are some of the wild raspberries that Kathy harvested from her land. Also, Von and I noticed a few Poke Salat (also spelled salad) plants on their property that could be harvested for a wonderful meal of greens and cornbread. I would show you some of the wild asparagus that Kathy and Von harvested from the fence row but we ate it so quickly we forgot to take a picture of it. Oh well, it was delicious. Anyway, we had a wonderful time with Kathy and  Scott but we also traveled to UP Michigan and spent a couple of wonderful days with Matt and Susanne. We saw many kinds of crops that would already have gone to seed in Texas just then coming in. We stopped back by Scott and Kathy’s on the way back to Texas and had another chance to visit with them and their family.

I want to take this opportunity to say “Shalom” to Jenna and Chad ((Chad is a major bee guru and cares for the 16 or so hives at Scott and Kathy’s)), also Nate and Michelle and all the other wonderful family we met for the first time but hopefully not for the last.

There is no Torah against beauty as well as food.

There is no Torah against beauty as well as food.

Here you can see some of the beautiful flowers that volunteered from last year. Since YHWH created beauty as well as food there can be no Torah against the volunteer re-growth of beauty.

Day after tomorrow Von and I journey to our home in New Mexico for a recon and working trip. We will have Teddy, Jim and Brandon (Kathy’s son) with us this trip. I was hoping Matt could join us for this trip but he and his very beautiful wife Susanne will be celebrating their anniversary on the Fourth of July weekend. Perhaps Matt, and possibly Susanne, will be able to make a trip with us before the fall. We will look forward to it.

For all of you who do not have others in your life that are more important to you than the air you breathe, you have my sympathy. It is a beautiful thing.

If we have something important happen on the trip, not like that stupid, insignificant Brexit thing, I will keep you posted.










5 thoughts on “The Sabbatical Year Garden

  1. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of your and Von’s visit, and looking forward to the next. You’ve taught us sooooooo much!

  2. Very good harvest. Good to hear from you as always, love your ministry. Maybe someday I can head out and stop by and say hey before travels is no longer a wise thing to do.

    Blessings and Prayers, Rick


  3. It has always been my understanding that the Sabbatical year for planting applied only in the land of Israel. I do know that many farmers have learned over many generations that you leave a field fallow (letting it rest) every 7 years, and I’m sure this is where that comes from, but why do you feel this applies to land other than Israel? Curious.

    • Shalom Vicki,
      The scripture says “When you come into the land that I give you”, it makes no distinction where there land is or that there is an expiration date to the command. Paul states that “If we are of Messiah we are of Abraham.” He also states that we are grafted into Israel (Romans 11). I apologize for taking so long to get back but we have been on the road for more than a week and I have all my Scriptures in the truck and we are still in the process of unloading.

      It is amazing to me that Americans belief in Manifest Destiny, (YHWH gave us this country), but refuse to keep His commands. please look at Rev. 12:17, 14:12 AND 22:14. If we do not keep His commands we cannot enter into the New Jerusalem or partake of the fruit of the Tree of life. Also, please look at the following: 2Pet.2:21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the set-apart command(1) delivered unto them. Footnote: (1)The singular “command” often means “commands” – see 1 Tim. 6:14, Dt. 17:20, Ps. 19:8.
      1Jn_2:3 And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands.1 Footnote: 1See 3:6.
      1Jn_2:4 The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
      1Jn_3:22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we guard His commands and do what is pleasing in His sight.1 Footnote: 1Prov. 28:9, John 9:31, Jm. 5:16.
      1Jn_3:24 And the one guarding His commands stays in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He stays in us, by the Spirit which He gave us.1 Footnote: 1John 14:23-24, Acts 5:32, Rom. 8:7-11, 1 John 2:5, 1 John 4:13.
      1Jn_5:2 By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and guard His commands.
      1Jn_5:3 For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands,1 and His commands are not heavy, Footnote: 1See 5:2, 2 John v. 6, John 14:15.
      2Jn_1:6 And this is the love, that we walk according to His commands.1 This is the command, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. Footnote: 1See 1 John 5:3, and John 14:15.

      You will notice that I did not mention anything from the “old” testament, other than by footnote.

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