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Backyard Creation Care

By Rev. Tim Olsen

There are examples throughout Scripture of God commanding us to care for His creation. Creation care is one of the first charges God gives to humans in Genesis 2:15. One can also find examples of God’s concern for the care of creation in Jeremiah 2:7 and Deuteronomy 11:12, just to name a few. 

All Christians are called by God to be stewards of all the earth and have been given the unique responsibility to care for all creation. This care can begin just outside in our backyards.  

I invite you to join me on a pictorial tour of my vegetable gardens and landscaping at my home in the rural town of Luverne, MN, located 30 miles east of Sioux Falls, SD.  

My gardens and landscaping are based on soil health principles and practices promoted by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), including: 

  • Maximize the presence of living roots 
  • Minimize disturbance 
  • Maximize soil cover 
  • Maximize biodiversity 

In my vegetable gardens, I practice no-till (absolutely no garden tillers or deep tillage), plant diverse cover crop combinations, and plant multi-species vegetable and flower varieties in raised garden beds. The results are remarkable. The need for weeding ends by mid-June, there is sustainable balance between “good bugs and bad bugs,” disease pressure is diminished, food production per square foot is increasing, and to reap economic savings on growing a garden.   

Regenerative gardening shares with regenerative agriculture the goal to reduce input costs to improve productivity and profitability. Feikema Farms in SW Minnesota is modeling on 7,000 acres how the investment in climate-smart agriculture is reducing both expenses and time to raise high yielding crops. 

2024 will be my third year of converting traditional residential landscaping to tall grass prairie native plants. This fall, I’ll be interseeding my lawn with a low growing flowering legume. The idea is to provide a food source for pollinators and eliminate the need to apply nitrogen fertilizer to my lawn. Through this, I’ll do my small part to limit the leaching of nitrates into local waterways.

I was given two rain barrels for my birthday. By coupling these barrels with in-ground watering Oya pots, I hope to eliminate using city water in my gardens. Adding to my creation care mix is the management of nearly 20 honey bee colonies, raising leafcutter bees, and feeding household food waste to worms.  

With God as your co-gardener, the potential harvest is bountiful!

Mimicking creation, the co-mingling of seven species together in one garden bed brings health to the soil, to plants, and to my family.

Converting traditional landscaping to native plants, feeds pollinators, reduces water use, eliminates the need for synthetic fertilizers and pest control, and provides a colorful welcome to guests.

There are many ways to practice creation care at home. Here are some informative USDA NRCS resources to jumpstart or enhance caring for creation in your own backyard: 

“God saw everything that he made and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”   -Genesis 1:31, NRSV 

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