Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Busy Time in the Gardens

A photo of Nebraska DaveHey everyone, how does your garden grow?  My seed starting station was a great success.  In fact too much so.  I didn't monitor it too well and after a week I decided that maybe a few seeds may have sprouted.  Yeah, the tomatoes looked like bean sprouts and hit the plastic top, curled over, and had grown half way back to the seed pellet.  The bell peppers were just about touching the plastic top.  I decided to just pull out the white stemmed spindly tomatoes and restart them.  The bell peppers were good and look great.  After four days the tomato seeds have popped up and are well on the way to producing tomato plants.  They may be just a little small when I plant them around May 15th but that just means I'll have tomatoes later in the season.  I'll probably buy a six pack or two just to have some earlier tomatoes.  The lesson learned is to monitor those seed starts every day.  The weather has been so nice that I don't even use the grow lights but just set them out side during the day to get the real thing sunshine.  It looks like I have four nice and sturdy Rutgers volunteer tomato plants already growing in the garden.  I'll let them get a little bigger and transplant them to their proper spot for this year.
Wood Border

Here's the plan for the bottom of the fence.  The last 30 feet of fencing will be cut into strips two foot wide and thirty feet long.  They will be attached to the bottom of the existing fence which then will be tacked to the wood that will be in a shallow trench.  Hopefully this will deter any digging critter from digging under the fence.  If that don't work then I do have a plan "B".  Plan "B" is to lay a two foot strip of chicken wire horizontally down in front of the wood and pin it to the ground with the big staple looking pins and cover it up with dirt.  The idea is that if a digging critter decided to dig, their claws will catch in the wire and keep them from digging.  That has been put on hold until the inside of the fence garden is finished.  I don't think any thing is going to eat the tomatoes, cucumbers, or bell peppers.

You can and see the weeds are coming back with a vengeance.  Sadly I had to resort to chemical measures to contain the weed population.  I really wanted to deep mulch them with broken bales of hay but I'm having a difficult time getting permission to haul the old hay away.  The property that they are sitting on is owned by a limited liability corporation.  I think a few folks got together and formed this corporation to buy investment property.  The real estate company gave me a number to call. The fellow that answered had no idea what I was talked about.  The address that I found from public records for the company was a house for sale.  My only recourse is to keep a watchful eye on the property and wait for the farmer that grows crops on the 25 acres to show up so I can ask him if I can haul it away for mulch.  However, as you can see weeds wait for no one.  The plan is to only do the chemical control once and not on my inside the fence garden.
 Gate Day Lilies

Here's my lovely free daylilies.  Yeah, they just happen to be right smack dab in the middle of my gate.  Aren't they really healthy and looking strong.  I decided that I'm not so much in love with daylilies any more.  My original plan was to transplant them along the outside of the fence.  Aaaaa, well, I can do that later if I really want.  I discovered they are a little tougher to transplant than I thought.  It looked a lot easier in mind.  So they have to go.  I have several other patches about this same size on the property so there is not going to be a lack of this resource if I decide to get crazy and use them for border plants.  Although, I would like to see a rabbit try to dig through those tangled roots.
Daylilies all Gone

OK, nothing but a pile of compost to be hauled away.  The good old pick axe and I rooted them out of the dirt in short order.  Let's get on to the next step in the taming of Terra Nova Gardens.
Pathway for garden

Here's one path and two garden beds almost finished.  Now why on earth would anyone dig a trench in the garden.  Some years ago I read an article about building raised garden beds.  The article said that since the path would only be used for walking skim off the four inches of good top soil and put it on the garden bed.  Not that I really need to do that here since the top soil goes down at least 18 inches.  My idea is to get more height for the garden beds and then to fill up the trench with wood chips.  Maybe a tree service would be willing to donate a load or two of wood chips for my garden paths and parking area.  It would do wonders for looks and be nice to walk on.

Well, the flag is flying, the sun is shining, and the tools are ready.  So until next time, I'll be working in the garden.  I just may have to buy a camp stove coffee pot for working in the garden just to keep the coffee on.  It's just not the same out a thermos bottle.

cindy murphy
5/6/2012 10:39:47 PM

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to your rugosa questions, Dave. I'm guessing if you mailed ordered them, they'll come bare root. In that case, yes, soaking the roots is necessary before planting - a good 12 hours is not too long. Adding a root stimulator to the tub of water the roots are soaking in is a great idea; I like either "Plant Starter" or "Root n' Grow" both made by Bonide, and readily available at garden centers or box stores. Searching my memory - I think it's 6 tablespoons per gallon of water. (If the roses arrive bare root and you're not quite ready to plant yet, make sure you heel them in....just dig a big hole and plop the bunch of them in, covering the root zone with soil or mulch until you're ready to soak and plant.) If they come potted instead of bare root, using the root stimulator is still a good idea - just water it in after planting. I agree - planting a rose that's supposed to get six feet wide only 2 feet apart seems too close. Yes, they will grow together to make a nice thick hedge, but they will do the same if planted 3 or 4 feet apart; even at 5 feet apart they will eventually fill in to make a hedge; it'll just take longer. It just depends on how long you're willing to wait. Are you a patient gardener? Is there such a thing?


nebraska dave
5/5/2012 1:31:51 PM

Mary, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I have plants ready to be planted as well. This week will be big time planting week. Well, that is if weather cooperates. I wish I could send you some rain as it is starting to get to the point that we could use a break for awhile with rain. Weather still seems to be on the side of extreme this year. It's just a continuation of last year. Today the temperature will be in the 90s again. It's the second day for high temperatures. It's really starting to heat up early this year. I'm not sure how that will affect gardening. Have a great planting time in the garden.


nebraska dave
5/5/2012 1:26:45 PM

Shannan, thank you for your encouraging words. The fence will eventually keep all critters out. I haven't quite finished it yet. After the inside is completed and all planting is done then the fence will get finished. I have a vision of how my gardens will look as well but sometimes my mind's eye sees things a little different that what happens in reality. :0) Have a great day in the garden.


mary carton
5/3/2012 2:13:10 AM

Looking good Dave. I haven't planted too much as I only had 1.18 inches of rain last month. I've replanted my corn, but it's been so dry, nothing is coming up. It's been thundering all evening, maybe I'll get some rain tonight. So far only thunder. My tomatoes have been ready since Nov. and really need to be out. I started some Cherokee Purple tomatoes from seed and moved them into larger containers this weekend. May tonight rain. I pulled 2 very nice tomato plants out of my compost pile and put them into containers. They were droopy for a little, but are looking better and ready to go into the garden.


s.m.r. saia
5/2/2012 10:53:46 AM

It looks great, Dave. What a nice fence! Is that to keep the deer out? I always make raised beds that way too. For me it's just easier, especially in the very beginning of the season when everything is just planted or is really small, to remember where it's safe to walk. I can't wait to see it burgeoning!


nebraska dave
5/2/2012 1:38:50 AM

Alexandra, I finished up the pathways today and started covering the beds with straw. It looks like it's going to take about 4 bales of straw to cover the beds. Then I can start planting and looking for wood chips for the pathways. Only one lettuce plant came up this year for some reason. The radishes are really spotty and the carrots are only a shade better than the radishes. It's not a good start for the garden year. Hopefully things will get better. Have a great day in the garden.


terra dei farm
5/1/2012 2:38:14 PM

Looks amazing, Dave! What an incredible amount of work you've completed already. We haven't gotten much done yet other than a nice lettuce crop in a raised bed and having the hogs nicely pre-till our big garden for us. So ready for this rain to finally stop so that we can get back in there and plant!


nebraska dave
4/30/2012 1:51:13 PM

No way, you can eat daylilies? Well, let me see. I should cook up a mess of daylily and sip on nettle tea. Wow, I really could live off the land. Maybe grab a turkey on special occasions. I could be a real Euell Gibbons. He was a 1960s proponent of natural back to the land diets. Yeah, probably not. It's been raining here so I haven't really accomplished much at the gardens. I'm down to one tiny section to gouge out and the garden paths for this year will be finished. I've decided to plant the three sisters combination for one section of the unfenced garden. I've found a plan that I like that requires planting mounds 2 1/2 feet apart staggered by corn and beans in one mound and vining squash in the next. Each row of mounds is five feet apart. It sure is nice having lots of room to experiment with. I will most likely only have about three 60 foot rows this first year with rest of the unfenced area in sweet corn. There's one 30'X30' section that the neighbor where I live, not near the gardens, wants to try to plant some watermelons. Hopefully if we plant them at the back of the garden area behind the fenced area the two legged foragers (wandering human travelers of the neighborhood) won't see them and we can actually harvest a couple.


nebraska dave
4/30/2012 1:50:44 PM

The Rugosa Roses are on the way. I was able to afford 21 bushes with 6 more as a bonus. They are 12 to 18 inch bushes. I know a little small but I'm willing to wait a couple years or more for mature bushes. The information says that will be four feet in a year but my experience with plant information tells me that's a bit of a stretch. Is there anything special that I need to do when planting. Root stimulator, or soaking, or compost in the hole? These rose bushes will go right behind the rustic wooden fence and hopefully in a few years they will not only block the view of the garden but help with keeping out undesirable animals. The instructions from the Website said for a good hedge to plant two feet apart. That sounds a bit close to me as the mature diameter is claimed to be six foot but I do want a thick hedge when mature. What is your recommendation? I hope you are having a great Michigan day.


cindy murphy
4/30/2012 1:26:01 AM

Dave, you seem to be as busy blogging as you are in the gardens; I almost missed this one. A word about those daylilies: don't discount ALL daylilies just because of your experience with the common orange ditch lily; he is the bad boy of the bunch, the renegade of the family. A word of caution - the heap of them that went into the compost pile? Soon your compost pile might be a nice patch of ditch lilies. Those things will sprout up anywhere. Good news is, they're completely edible from the flowers right down to the tubers (which can be used like potatoes). If you can't weed 'em, eat 'em!


nebraska dave
4/24/2012 9:29:51 PM

Allan, It is a lot of work now but once it gets all set up then I'll be able to coast with just maintenance which is much less work then the actual building of the beds. I hope to have this year's section done by the end of the week. Weed control is a big issue outside of the critter proof fence. My friend came over and helped with that yesterday and whacked weeds for about an hour. Work continues. Planting time approaches. My neighbor that live across the street gave me a wad of onions to plant so I had them soaking over night. They will be in the dirt by day's end. The seed starts are coming along great. Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, oh my!! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Have a great day in the garden.


allan douglas
4/24/2012 9:36:29 AM

Looks like it's coming along great, Dave. Lots of work, huh? I like the log border at the base of the fence - that should work well to deter diggers, at least for a while. And when it begins to rot, it will just enrich the soil.