From my office window my garden torments me. It whispers, no screams at me, “Come out and play! We need you to be out here, appreciating us. And while your here, can you just pull that little blade of grass that’s tickling me?” As I’m trying to concentrate on my schoolwork, I stare out at my almost-finished greenhouse. “Come paint me so that I can harbor the chickens and the plants that I was meant to! It is cold outside, but I am warm and toasty.” It is too much for me to bear sometimes. The summer is so short and my plants grow up so fast. I don’t want to miss their first flowers or let them get chewed up by slugs.
This is the real reason why we need the rain. Sure, the plants love it and the rain barrel is full. But there is nothing like the peace of mind that comes from watching the rain fall into the garden and knowing that I am right where I’m supposed to be; inside getting my work done so that I can fully enjoy my garden when the sun comes back out.
It is cold out there right now, and if you have warm-season plants in the ground like zucchini or other squash, cucumbers, tomatoes or peppers, you may want to protect from the cold. The best way to do this is with floating row cover, a white, porous, polyester fabric that lets light, air, and water in, and warms up the plants beneath it. You can buy this at Alaska Mill and Feed or other garden stores. Just lay it over your plants and put some rocks around the edges to keep it held down. I also wrap it around my tomato cages to warm them up. You can really tell when tomatoes are too cold because their leaves turn purple, as you can see below.
Actually, what you are looking at on the right is a system I’ve developed to keep my tomatoes even warmer. I plant them in a circle around chicken-wire, and then slowly fill the circle with warm compost as they grow. It works brilliantly!