Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Garden season is on hold 
It looks like the garden season has been put on hold by nature's weather.  Being a weather person in Nebraska has to be the most difficult job there is.  Even though Spring is officially here, the cold weather and the threat of snow continues.  One day of 60 degree weather allowed me to work outside but now the temperatures are back in the teens at night and 30s during the day.  It just might be one of those years when the weather turns from cold rainy Spring to hot summer.  Every year presents a new set of weather challenges for the Nebraska gardener.  This year is no different.
I am definitely not an expert when it comes to painting so I turned to the experts that have told me the temperature needs to be above 50 degrees in order to have paint dry properly.  This is the above 50 degree day that I used to continue to paint my first pallet to fence panel.  After this day another storm came through and dumped five more inches of snow and hasn't given me another day to work on this panel.  I did put this day to good use.
With the primer finally on the back of the panel, it's time to kick back and rest a couple hours while the nice warm sun dries the paint.  The temperature actually climbed into the 70s this day on my driveway.  I don't think the official temperature got more than 65.  After the primer dried, the panel was flipped over and the real painting began.
The backdrop of what I'm calling garden graffiti is what one neighbor has called John Deere green.  The actual name is Lucky Shamrock green.  Since I'm partially color blind, it's difficult for me to see green but I can see this green so it must be pretty bright.  I've indicated in previous posts that I have no artistic talent what so ever.  Drawing stick men are a challenge for me.  I have to come up with ways to do art that allow me to draw on my limited abilities.  Here can see a devised way to draw a flower on the panel.  Four flowers will be across the bottom of the panel.  I am seriously thinking about putting a couple shorter flowers in the middle of these flowers.  Every one of my projects is a work in progress and subject to change until I finally declare it finished.  This one is no different.  So as you can see one cut out petal will be traced a petal at a time around the center point of the intended flower.  It worked pretty good.
So with the panel ready, the weather warm, and flocks of north bound geese honking above, let the art work begin.  One thing I've found in painting from experience has been, the better the brush the easier it is to paint.  My brushes are not real expensive but they are not the cheap big box store ones either.  The first brush stroke is for the stems of the flowers.  

So after one long day of fun in the sun, the panel now looks like this.  The flowers still need outlined in black, the petals need definition with black lines, and a black round center will finish up the flowers.
The garden name Terra Nova Gardens will be across the top of the fence.  Remember this is only one panel of three decorated ones.  This panel will have the first word of the garden name across the top which would be Terra.  Now of course I don't just want block letters.  My choice of fonts is AR DECODE and it looks like this.
Terra Nova Gardens
Yeah, another challenge for the talent lacking artist.  It seems I never want to do any thing that would be an easy task.  This lettering will be my greatest challenge.

The cabbage and broccoli seedlings got another day outside while I painted.  They seem to like those days in the fresh air and sun.  I don't know for sure when it's time for transplanting but I have plenty of extra plants for experimentation.  I only need about 15 or 20 plants each.  The tulips have survived the snow an cold just fine as you can see.  They are tough plants to be able to endure the Nebraska spring time extremes.
One day soon we all will be able to get outside and enjoy the warm sun.  It's 92 days until summer and counting.  Yea!!  Have a great day where ever you are.


Monday, March 11, 2013

The Garden season begins 
The garden season began two weeks ago.  I planted cabbage and broccoli seeds and put them on a heat mat covered with saran wrap.  Expecting the cabbage to sprout up in five to seven days imagine my surprise when they popped up in three days.  I thought wow that was fast and uncovered them and thought that the broccoli would take much longer since they weren't supposed to germinate for about two to three weeks.  I was shocked to find broccoli standing tall in five days after planting.  This garden season is off to a great start.
These are just ten days after planting.  I took them outside for their first visit to the real world.  The temperature was about 50 degrees and they drank in the fresh air for about two hours.  I'm hoping to get them outside as much as possible when the temperature is over 50 degrees.  It should really help with the hardening off process.
After two weeks these plants are really looking good.  I've never really tried to grow my own plants before so this is all a new experience for me.  That great white strip above the plants comes from sun spectrum florescent grow bulbs.  Right now they are about a half inch above the plants.  I read that to keep the plants stocky and strong keep the bulbs almost touching the plants.  It seems to be working.
The same day that the plants had their outing I got to do some painting on one fence panel.  This is the primer paint which will seal up the wood.  I knew that pallet wood was dry so expected it would soak up the primer paint.  It looks like it will take one gallon of paint for every eight foot panel.  Primer will go on both sides of the panel.  The next coat will be a grass green color.  I just thought that the color would be fitting for a garden fence.  Then I would like to paint grass blades along the bottom in a lighter green color.  Since I'm doing all the painting myself and not a very good artist, I am going to try to keep it simple with having just the name "Terra Nova Gardens" in big letters across the top.  If that turns out well, I might try to add some simple flowers among the grass blades at the bottom.  That will be really taxing my abilities.  But nothing tried, nothing gained.
Storm Triton had its way with us yesterday and left behind five inches of wet slushy snow that gave my two stage snow blower, Stormie, fits.  It was so wet that the snow ejection tube would plug about every 10 feet.  She chewed her way through it the best she could.  Today, I just pushed off the last inch that fell over night with a shovel.  By day's end, the driveway and sidewalk were clear and dry.  The bright sunshine helped with melting the snow.  By Thursday the temperature will be 57 and Friday 65.  Storm Triton will only be a memory by the end of the week.  I should be into the lettering of the fence panel by the end of the week.  I'll let you know how it turns out.
There's not much else happening here as my anticipation for Spring to arrive and real outside gardening to begin.  There's many project ideas waiting to become reality this year, the biggest of which will be a back yard addition of a zip line.  Yes, my backyard is becoming a playground for the neighborhood.
Have a great pre spring day and Happy St. Pat's day to all you Irish people.