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