Using Winter Row Covers

Winter Row covers to the rescue!
I had never heard of "Floating Row Covers" before researching them last year.  I can officially say after a year of using them in our garden that I highly recommend their use.  

First "Floating Row Covers" are simply a special type of fabric that you use to cover your plants.  I say special because this fabric still allows light, water and air for your plants to grow.  There are several different types of fabric you can purchase.  This year we bought 2 different types: 
Current Garden picture (Sept 2013)

The first is  Garden Quilt Cover Fabric which allowed us to extend our growing season in Spring and we are currently using it this Fall. (This fabric protects down to 24 degrees F with 60% light transmission).

The second is Summerweight Garden Fabric this fabric protected our plants from pests in the spring and early summer.  The plants were able to grow and mature and then we removed the covers when they started flowering.  (This fabric transmits 85% light to plants with frost protection to 28 degress F).


Humbled by The Master

I have to admit at the end of August I had given up on the garden.  I had decided that it was time to start cleaning out the raised beds.
The garden on Aug. 23rd (before I pulled up the left flower bed)
Two weeks ago I could tell that the Bush Beans were through so I pulled up all the plants.  The left flower bed was also in bad shape so I pulled up all the Sunflower stalks and the wilted Zinnias.  I decided to leave the rest of the plants in the raised beds because I just couldn't bear pulling them up.  I glanced at the Eggplant and Peppers in the last bed and prematurely concluded that we had wasted our time starting them from seed and dedicating almost the entire bed to these plants. 
Bush Beans just before I cleaned out the bed

Eggplant first sign of fruit Aug 23rd
 I tend to have an optimistic personality, but I still have my days.  Lately I have been praying that God would help me trust Him more with my life.  I find that when a large amount of things turn out differently than I have planned and I can't understand it that my grip tightens on wanting control and an immediate solution.  I am not the best with waiting and feel the need to figure things out on my own.      

When things like this happen someone will usually say "God will never give you more than you can handle."  Well the truth is that this statement is not biblical and I am almost certain it doesn't provide reassurance to those with difficulties.  

The truth is: We will have trials in our lives that are larger and more difficult than we can handle alone on our own strength.  God will allow us to be stretched beyond our strength and human abilities to show us our need for Him, reminding us that His strength is limitless, and to deepen our faith.    

Red Pepper plant
When I focus on this truth then I am moved to focus on God and allow Him to be Lord over my life.  Then I can relinquish control.  

I walked out into the garden today and was reminded of this truth.  I had thought everything was "over" in the garden and that it was time to pull up more plants.  After ignoring the garden for the past week it seemed the end was inevitable. 

I found myself humbled when I discovered the garden was still very much alive.  The Pole Beans had bloomed and formed beans, the Summer Squash had produced again, and I found 3 Eggplant and 2 Peppers ready to pick!

Now I know that this garden harvest is not the solution to all my challenges.  But today for me personally, it was a reminder that God is in control of my life and that he provides amazing surprises. 

May you be encouraged by this verse:
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you Lord, have never forsaken those who you love.  Psalm 9:10


Purple Tomato Seedlings & the Clay Pot

I have a large clay pot that was given to me when my mom no longer needed it.  The first year we moved to our house I decided to use it on our deck to grow some small yellow tomatoes.  Everyone who came over was amazed at how big the tomato plant was and how much it produced.  Flash forward.  This is the fourth year I have planted a tomato in this pot.  I don't know what the deal is but this pot was made to grow tomatoes!!   
The "Amazing" Tomato Pot

Next year I want to look around and see if I can find another large clay pot similar to this one.  All the tomatoes I have grown in this pot have tripled the size of the other tomatoes I have grown.   Last week I was able to harvest 13 tomatoes from the plant (with at least 4 to 5 more to come) and then make a yummy cold salad using some of the tomatoes.  Fresh tomatoes are incredible!
Fresh Mozzarella Tomato Salad with Basil from the Garden!
Beefsteak Tomatoes