Relinquishing Control

He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.  He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. 
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.   
Psalm 147:10 & 11
There are so many times when I attempt to control things in my life.  I have recognized this tendency and everyday I am working to give my day and schedule up to God.  I read the verse above today at lunch and it reminded me of how I still have areas that I need to remember to trust God with.

Gardening has really taught me this life lesson in a tangible way.  Everyday when I walk out into the garden I see how things have grown and changed and how little I can ultimately do to control the plants outcome.  Yes my family and I take care of the plants to the best of our ability but there are so many other things that we just can't control.  

Growing plants is also work.  One can't expect to just put a seed in the ground and walk away.  You have to take care of the plants and monitor them.  You could read all the gardening books in the world and you would still learn that its the actual daily experience of working with the garden that teaches you the most.   It is the same with our lives.

If you are reading these posts my hope is that you would be encouraged.  I have very little actual experience up to this point in the garden.  My goal is to share with you our successes and also our failures so that you can learn along with us.  Along the way I will share truth that has transformed my life.   May you find it to be authentic.

BED# 1- (pictured below) Asparagus, Parsley, Tomatoes & Basil.

Parsley- ready to pick again
Larvae of the Asparagus Beetles (I handpick around 10 a day off the Asparagus)
Still battling the Spotted Asparagus Beetles
BED# 1- (pictured below) Cauliflower, Broccoli, Corn,Pole Beans & Winter Squash (3 Sisters).

Corn tassels with pollen (male flowers)
We harvested the Broccoli (85 days to harvest) around June 30th and I thought the Cauliflower (80 days to harvest) would follow quickly.  Well something went wrong because this week I discovered LOTS of holes on the leaves of the Cauliflower.  I was too busy paying attention to the Asparagus Beetles and Cucumber Beetles and I missed the Garden Worms
on the Cauliflower!  Yikes again!!  It still amazes me how quickly these things can appear.  I should have been checking the undersides of the leaves.  A week missing that means lots of eggs and then one day.......the plant is a disaster.  So needless to say I pulled up the remaining pieces of the Cauliflower and Broccoli and disposed of them.  (TIP: Don't put infested or diseased plants in your compost pile).
Cauliflower leaves being eaten.
Garden worms are the culprits!
Tiny black eggs cover the Cauliflower
At least the Winter Squash seem to be doing well in this bed.  I have spotted several Inadequately pollinated squash but I just can't keep up with everything.  Each Winter Squash plant has (1) fruit that is growing.  Hopefully I can get more!
Winter Squash in back of Bed #2
Burgess Squash
Butternut Squash
Spaghetti Squash

 CENTER BED- (pictured below) 2 Watermelon Plants
I added some wood to make more of a barrier for the vines.  They are overtaking the garden!
This is our first time growing Watermelon. I honestly need to do some research on the plant. This particular variety is called "Allsweet".  It is described as disease resistant.  It takes 100 days for the fruit to grow to 17-19 inches long and then it is ready for harvest.  So far the plants have bloomed twice.  Once earlier in the season and then they bloomed again yesterday.  I wanted to help them along by hand pollinating a few of the blooms but I missed my opportunity. 
Largest Watermelon is 6 inches!
Baby Watermelon
BED# 3- (pictured below) Onions, Carrots, Bush Beans, Summer Squash.

Onions continue to grow.  This year we are having success!
Summer Squash- each plant (3) total produced (1) fruit on July 13th!
Summer Squash & small Onions- freshly picked
Need to monitor: Powdery Mildew on Summer Squash leaves
BED# 4- (pictured below)- Zucchini, Peppers, Eggplant & Cucumbers.
Zucchini- we have harvested (7) Zucchini so far!
Cumcumber & Zucchini

Last year at this time we already had several Peppers and Eggplant.  I believe that the seeds I started indoors were not grown at a warm enough temperature.  They grew but when I planted them in the garden (under a Row Cover using the Winter Fabric) they took quite awhile to start growing.  Also at this point last year they had already been producing fruit so I know this is unusual that fruit is just starting to form. 

So that you and I can learn from this experience and not repeat this same mistake I have included a little time table of information below with dates.

LESSON LEARNED: Looks like I need to find a warmer location to start seeds for the plants that love warmth (Peppers, Eggplants and Tomatoes) and at the same time start the seeds earlier indoors so they will be further along when I plant them in the garden next year!  
Sweet Pepper starting to produce fruit
Seeds started: March 16th
Growth period: 8 weeks  (recommended 8-10 weeks)
Planted outdoors: May 18th
Days in garden: 59 days (on July 16th)
Days to harvest: 70 days (so around July 27th?)
Eggplant starting to produce fruit
Seeds started: March 24th 
Growth period:  7 weeks (recommended 6-9 weeks)
Planted outdoors: May 18th
Days to harvest: 80 days (on August 6th)
Cucumber about 4 inches long
Downy Mildew continues on the Cucumber leaves
I am continuing to hand pick the Striped Cucumber Beetles that are attacking the Cucumber plant.  At the same time I am trying to figure out what to do about the Downy Mildew that continues to spread on the plant.  I have removed many of the spotted leaves that you see in the picture above in hopes that this will help.
Marigolds are in each bed (Beneficial flowers)
BENEFICIAL BEDS: Zinnias, Wildflowers, Poppies, Sunflowers, Lavender and Echinacea.

The beneficial flower beds are doing really well.  They are very low maintenance and the flowers are beautiful to look at!  We have been very pleased with this new addition to the garden. 
I also would highly recommend growing Zinnias.  They are beautiful flower and are easy to maintain.  One thing to remember is that they grow very tall so you need to use some sort of support in front and in back of them.  I bought some simple green wire fencing to put in front that was about 6 inches tall (I need to go higher with that next year!)

I love to buy the "Cut and Come Again" variety because as the name states when I cut the flowers then more flowers grow back!  Zinnias are wonderful flowers to cut and put in vases.  Their vibrant colors and beautiful form last for a week or so in your house!  Its a great way to bring your flowers indoor! 

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