Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. Exodus 23:10-11
But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat….Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store. Leviticus 25:4-7 & 18-22
Next year is our seventh year planting and working our land and with some overwintering onions etc… that need to be started soon, we’re contemplating whether we’d like to give the land a sabbath rest, recognizing that the Lord’s ways are best. After all, this is His creation and surely He knows best how to manage it. I know that I’ve personally found resting once a week to be tremendously refreshing and rejuvenating and I’m so thankful He has given us that gift.
If I may be completely frank with you all, it would be quite the leap of faith for us since, like many of you I’m sure, the economic times we’re living in have made things really very tight and with 7 mouths to feed, we rely heavily upon our garden’s produce to ease the financial strain. So trying to decide which route to take has been a struggle. And yet I don’t want to wait and see what comes from the ground this year before making the decision because that seems so faithless.
It would be a great opportunity to really implement the mulching systems we’re interesting in using to build soil fertility and devote time to other endeavors. And right now the thought of not having to deal with squishing all those bugs between my fingers next years seems oh so appealing! But there are some logistics and technicalities that need to be considered like would a beneficial, nitrogen-fixing cover crop planted this fall not be resting? Would we rest only the portions used for the seven years or would it be alright to harvest the asparagus that is in ground only broken two years ago? Same with the brand new herb garden? And if I decided not to harvest from the 1 year old herb garden, would continuing to build it be alright?
I know that there are no “right” answers and that we don’t even have to do it if we don’t want to as it won’t earn merit or change ours standing before the Lord, but it’s interesting to think about it all.
I would love to get your thoughts and opinions about this and would especially be encouraged by your testimonies should any of you have them!
We rested our land last year and moved the chickens to the garden plot, surrounding the area with a portable electric fence. The chickens scratched up the weeds, ate the weed seeds and bugs, and left behind their fertilizer. I am looking forward to seeing how the garden grows this year!
I think that was quite wise of you not only to give the land rest, but also to use the chickens to put back some of what you’ve been taking out over the years! I hope your garden is blessed & abundantly productive this year!