Thursday, February 5, 2015

Gardening has started 

The weather outside is brrrr cold here in Nebraska.  The temperature this morning was -5 degrees with about 18 inches of snow on the ground from two snows.  I totally got to play with Stormie my snow blower.  I helped the neighbor remove snow from their driveway and sidewalk.  Fun for me but would have been lots of work for them.  The first snow was a heavy heart attack snow.  Some times snow blowers won't throw heavy wet snow very well but Stormie strutted her stuff and handled it with the greatest of ease.

This purchase marks the beginning of the gardening season.  Ha, it was classic when I had to have the fork lift operator at Home Depot bring down a pallet of frozen Organic Choice garden soil from the storage above floor level.  Four bags of frozen soil packed on a trolley cart destined for a new experimental growing system left the Home Depot employees shaking head at the crazy old coot buy frozen bag of dirt.  Left in the back of Ranger Rick, my truck, it thawed out in the garage.  The garden soil, compost and cow manure, peat moss, and some other amendments were tumbled in the composter on one of the 50 degree days.  Two batches was enough to fill eight five gallon buckets in preparation of the early portable growing system.
 
This the setup in the basement for eight plants that will be started inside under the grow lights.  Each bucket will contain either a tomato plant or a green pepper plant.  The seeds for these plants will be started in the seed starting station on a heat mat the first of March.  The plants should be ready to be transplanted to larger containers once they have the first set of leaves the first part of April.  They will be ready for the buckets by the first part of May and will remain in these buckets for the rest of the growing season.  The buckets will be set out in the garden after hardening off at the end of May.  They set on a similar rain gutter system in the garden.  If inclement weather or frost threatens like last year, the buckets can be brought back in the house for protection.  It's a totally portable system that can be moved at a moments notice.  It's all totally experimental and may end up being a total bust but it looks good in my brain but any one who's read this blog for any length of time knows that what seems like a great idea in my brain some times just doesn't come out into reality the way I thought it would.
This day is the official start of the gardening season.  I know it doesn't look like much but this is the starting of the onion seeds.  The seeds were scattered over the top of 50 fiber pots and potting mix was sprinkled on top.  It was already watered and the original potting mix was moist and warm from being on the heat mat. After the seeds were scattered and the potting mix sprinkled on top a light misting from a spray bottle dampened the top layer.  Water was poured into the bottom of the tray to wick up the fiber pots from the bottom and a lid was placed on top to keep the moisture in.  The tray was set back on the heat mat to wait for the seeds to come to life.

Seeds are an amazing thing.  Scientists can dissect a seed down to the molecular level and identify every element in the seed.  However they can not identify what gives the seed life. I've heard that seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs over 1000 years old have been planted and actually sprouted.  That life force has been passed on each year from season to season through the plants producing seeds.  Yeah, I know, I sit and ponder these things while working in the garden or starting seeds under the grow lights.  Pretty amazing, don't you think.
So the daughter says, "Hey Dad the washer is leaking water all over the floor really bad."  Since the washer is pushing 20 years old, we have just been waiting for the day when it has a total failure and I thought this might be the day.  The last time we thought it was over, the drain pipe was rusted out and leaking water under the washer in an attempt to shift the blame.  The drain pipe was repaired so what else could it be but the washer this time.  Anyone see what could be the problem in the above picture that might cause a major leak?  Ah, yeah, the drain hose had jumped out of the drain.  I suspect the washer is getting really tired of getting blamed for flooding the laundry room floor.
 
Well, that's all for now from the Urban Ranch.  I hope to have another report on the experimental ideas in a week or two.  Have a great time either planning a garden or laughing at my crazy plans.
 
Nebraska Dave
Urban Farmer
Omaha Nebraska
GRIT Magazine Blogger
http://www.grit.com/blogs/adventures-of-old-nebraska-dave.aspx

12 comments:

  1. You hang on to that washer for as long as possible. The new appliances are TOTAL junk and last only a few years. I'd repair yours as long as possible.
    Glad it was a simple matter this time.

    Looking forward to seeing how that works for you with the buckets. I've always thought I should try that as our springs are SO late and nights are cold. It would be nice to try a tomato or pepper in that and put it in the garage at night to keep warm when cold is forecast.
    Have a wonderful weekend, David

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  2. We missed out on the snow but got our share of cold. Today though, nice and warm.
    I'm usually buying something for the garden way earlier than anyone else too. The people at the store aren't sure if they even have that yet.
    Good luck on the seed startings!!!
    The washer hose not in the drain would be a real mess!!! We had that once. Now, our hose it lassoed down.

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  3. 85 today here in Bakersfield, California. Yuck. No winter weather to mention this season. The trees only had a brief nap and should be blooming soon.

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  4. It's never occurred to me to use my compost tumbler to mix garden soil and amendments. That's a great idea that I'm going to put to use. Thanks for the "heads up". I'm also going to stop complaining about the weather and it's effect on my gardening. Here in Southeast Texas the daytime air temp's are in the 60's and the soil temp is 53 with no snow in sight. LOL. You've definitely got me beat in the determination department. Thanks for the gardening update, and best of luck on another good gardening season.

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  5. BriarRabbtz, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Comments are always an enjoyable thing for me.

    The 18 inches of snow is well on its way to totally being melted. Two almost 50 degree days have really reduced the amount of snow left on the ground. Another day today of upper 40s will all but eliminate it for sure. It doesn't seem that much is running off but instead soaking into the ground. We had two weeks of 50s and 60s weather before the snow so the ground's top layer was totally thawed out. As it turns out that was a great thing to happen as the moisture has soaked into the ground. The moisture average is probably still behind for the year but this moisture has much more benefit that a normal snow fall.

    Composters are a great tool to use for mixing up garden soil. I use mine exclusively for that task. Are you in the drought section of the Texas? Extreme weather seems to be the case every where. Too much, too little, or destructive weather patterns are all across the country.

    I'm into day four and it looks like there's a few little sprouts just peeking through the potting mix. I expect another couple days and many more will be popping up. In about a week after the seed pop up, they will be taken off the heat mat and another round of seeds will be started. Full strength grow lights will be on the first planting for about 14 hours a day. In a couple months they will be out in the garden beginning their long journey to maturity.

    More gardening to come and have a great Texas day.

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  6. Yay gardening! May your gardens produce bountifully!

    Seeds really are amazing things. I've pondered an acorn before, while looking up at an oak tree several hundred years old and several hundred feet high.

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  7. Whoo-hoo! So happy for you to have picked up your stash! That full truck bed must look mighty good to you! Enjoy your sowing. Thank you for joining The Maple Hill Hop today! Rock on!

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  8. Hi Dave,
    Yes, the cold is back in our parts. I am so ready for spring to get here! I have the local news on, and just saw that Lincoln could get a couple or more inches of snow Saturday, into Sunday, just like you said! I don't remember what the number of inches was, but was not tickled about it.

    I'm tickled to see you got the dirt into your buckets and have some seeds started. I don't know if I'm going to start anything inside this year. If I do, it will be tomatoes and peppers. I have never started onions from seeds.

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  9. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. The weather has been extremely cold here in Montreal as well and we apparently haven't since the weather this cold in February for decades. Gardening is a wonderful hobby and provides so much beauty, peace and joy. You have a lovely blog.

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  10. Hi Dave, What a difference a few weeks can make! We got up to 90 in Lincoln the other day! That was too hot too soon! I have our granddaughter in the afternoons and evenings, so haven't been making it outside much this week. It's been too chilly for me in the mornings. I am glad you are feeling up to your projects this spring. You had reasons for getting behind last year. Thanks for your comment on my last post. I am so glad it is spring!

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  11. I've thought the same thing about seeds, it's truly amazing how such a small thing can give an abundance of food. Those tiny seeds are what we rely on for food, whether we are able to grow it or have to buy in the grocery store. I'd much rather never do the latter, but life happens.
    Glad I found your blog - I am going through the same things! Nearly bought those same mixes of dirt, but we have a huge garden (600 square feet I think), and will end up buying top soil by the truck load for a lot cheaper. Cheers to high hopes for our gardens!

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  12. I've thought the same thing about seeds, it's truly amazing how such a small thing can give an abundance of food. Those tiny seeds are what we rely on for food, whether we are able to grow it or have to buy in the grocery store. I'd much rather never do the latter, but life happens.
    Glad I found your blog - I am going through the same things! Nearly bought those same mixes of dirt, but we have a huge garden (600 square feet I think), and will end up buying top soil by the truck load for a lot cheaper. Cheers to high hopes for our gardens!

    ReplyDelete