Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tomatoes in Cages

I like tomato cages. They look rather ridiculous when the tomato plants are 3 inches tall. Who needs a tomato cage then? But before you know it, the plant shoots up, and the cage is so useful. The earlier you put the cage in, the better it is for the plant. Its roots work around it. Funny thing is, the cage doesn't really seem to touch the plant anywhere.
The branches just seem to rest easily on the wires. The cage doesn't appear to be doing much. However, we know those branches don't even do that on their own;  as the plant grows, each little green limb must be gently raised above the nearest wire bar, and rested on top of it. It takes faithful attention, as the plant grows each day.
I didn't have enough cages for all my tomato plants this year. Last year, I left two plants with no cages, and oh the mess they made! Left to their own devices, tomatoes are vines, and they quickly flop over from their own weight, and begin to snake along the ground. Later, their fruit is lost in the weeds and rots on the ground, a total loss.

Anyway, this fella started off without a cage. He was little. He didn't flop over very far -- look at the base of his stem. See how it's leaning over? I rescued it in time, and am using this piece of sign wire to support the plant. I can't straighten out his stem now though; it would break, but I can encourage the rest of him to grow straight up, and he'll still be a great plant with delicious fruit.
This one was in slightly worse shape.  He was already on the ground. But with Adam's help, and great care, I managed to get his head up into the cage. He needs the restrictions of the cage more than a plant that's had it all his life. This plant's stem is very curved and contorted; he needs the strength and direction of the cage to keep him growing into the light.
Look at how curved this stem is! It forms an "s." It's hard to get this plant to stay in the cage; it's always flopping out through the gaps in the wire bars. But even this plant will do well, with constant care. And now, here's the moral that goes with this vegetable tale ...
We humans are like tomato plants. Some grow up from infancy with the helpful cages of godly correction and discipline around us. If tended lovingly, we sometimes don't even seem to need the rules around us;  we simply rest on them and grow straight.

But others are left to themselves, and humans left to themselves founder and fall into sin. It's not too late, however.  The rules and restrictions of discipline and assistance may feel more onerous, and we may lean rather heavily against them, but good growth and productivity are still possible. You can't go back and erase the past; sometimes the evidence of past struggles remains. But everyone -- everyone -- benefits from intervention, from rescue, from redemption.  That's the message of the cross.

When you see a young person struggling along life's path, or an older person who has clearly lost his way, say a prayer for his rescue. No one should be left in the dirt.


  1. So true! Love your tomato cage analogy, MK!
    By the way, if you look closely at my floors today, they are not all super clean. Somehow they seem to be very photogenic.
    Do you know what seasonal aisle I like best? Valentine's Day.
    Okay, not to be naggy but isn't it about time for a face shot of Sandy? I couldn't see her cute face when she was playing baby.

  2. I'll work on that close-up shot, Pom!

  3. hmm... not sure about the cage analogy. Training a vine is one thing but to say it is trained by being caged leaves something to be desired to my way of thinking. Just a thought, ma'am!


Hello! I hope you leave a word ~ I will get back to it as soon as I can!