Clay Soil on Newby Hill

A number of us gathered at the chapel for three hours of gardening this afternoon. It was a wonderful, cloudless day and the sun shone brilliantly. I’d procured a number of small shrubs from the garden centre at Salterforth; others had donated seeds and bulbs. We planted Lilly of the Valley, bluebells, snowdrops and a small border sown with wild flowers.

The soil on Newby Hill, however, is thick clay; it becomes sodden and sticky in the rain and like concrete in the sun. Much of our work was therefore concerned with mixing peat, compost and horse manure into the ground before the plants could be dug in. without this, the little shrubs would suffer alternate drownings and droughts.

When Jesus told the parable of the sower, he likened hearers’ hearts to the soil quality upon which his seed is scattered. Poor soil produces a poor response to the gospel.

Matthew 13:8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

I trust this afternoon’s efforts at soil improvement pay off.