This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Garden 2009 – Spring

Well, it’s that time of year again, and the Lord has granted us provisions to be able to plant a garden. This year we’ve followed Michael’s recommendations that he researched as to how to put together a good top soil, which was one part vermiculite, one part peat moss, and one part compost. While the vermiculite is rather pricey, it and the peat moss only need to be included in the first-year blend, with each year following only requiring compost.

In a hopefully further improvement, because our beds were sloped, I added raised barriers and leveled out each of them so the water wouldn’t just run off the beds:

As you can see, I also put bark all around the outside of the raised beds to allow us to walk in those areas after any rains. Plus, after starting the project last year, I finished putting two-foot chicken wire around the garden area to help keep out rabbits and other such critters.

Jumping the Gun

We had a very mild Winter this year, and so I decided to plant soon after what is technically our last freeze date of April 15 or so. Well, a week to a week and a half after our planting, a couple of cold nights with heavy winds came along, the second night being a freeze watch or warning night. We covered our plants with thick, white plastic sheets, and left them on during the day time between the two nights because of the difficulty with the winds. That between-day was sunny and in the 50s-60s Fahrenheit, I believe. I don’t know if it was the cold, the wind, the sun during the between-day, or a combination of them, but the day after the second night when we removed the plastic, just about all of the plants were wilted very badly, enough to where it looked like they all needed to be replanted. And so I went ahead and did just that; I’m just hoping now we don’t have another freezing night. Also, given this experience and that we’ve had freezing days in early April in years past, we have decided that from now on we will probably make somewhere around April 15th each year our new, personal, last freeze date.

And so, the garden is mostly planted again now, and we are looking forward to the potential of God’s provisions for us this year in the area of vegetables, according to His will.

— David


  1. Manette

    Good Morning Dave,
    My husband has been in the business of gardening, greenhouses and landscaping for 40 years. I asked him what went wrong. Here is his response:
    “Plastic is a bad insulator. At night it doesn’t protect from freezing, during the day it traps to much heat on the tender plants. Next time use burlap.”
    Hope this helps. What a lovely garden!

  2. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Manette,

    Well, there you go…I guess the plastic was an all-around bad idea.

    Thanks so much for the information!

    — David

  3. Anonymous

    Beautiful boxed garden beds and mulched paths, David and Susan!

    When the cold attacks here spring and fall I grab my oldest bedsheets and head for the gardens, sometimes big towels too. They, like burlap….less likely to be in my closets right now….let the plants breath, but provide warmth too. Just another idea that has worked in good ‘ol Wisconsin many a season.

    Pray you have the weather needed for good production, Lord willing!


  4. David and Susan Sifford

    Thanks very much Beth!

    — David

  5. Salena

    I found your blog recently and enjoy it so much! We also plant “late”. People around us have already planted a good bit of their gardens and the past two nights have been below freezing. It’s funny, most of the people we know tell us every year that our garden isn’t going to make because we wait until mid to late April to plant. Ours usually does better than theirs. LOL *Plus* we aren’t out having to cover ours to protect from frost.

    I really like the way you did the beds. That is really neat!

  6. David and Susan Sifford

    Thank you Salena.

    We had to cover the beds last night because of a freeze, but we used walked-on hay from the goat pens. Seems to have gotten the plants through, for which we are thankful.

    — David

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