Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Donations for the garden and harvest begins

A photo of Nebraska DaveAugust in upon us and the summer has only 48 days left. Many will welcome the relief from the hottest summer on record in their area.  Here in eastern Nebraska, my area is today into day 45 without a drop of rain.  Some areas of Nebraska have received token rain storms but well below our normal rain fall for this time of the year.  Farm cash crops and gardens alike have suffered under the relentless heat even if irrigation and watering has been done.  At Terra Nova Garden over 2,000 gallons of water has been hauled in two 55 gallons drums just in the month of July.  The water hauling has paid off and the tomato crop has started producing.

Tomatoes harvested from Terra Nova Gardens 

Today with the temperatures in the 80s will provide a day that is meant for canning tomatoes.  I have given away as many as I can give away which has been about again as many as you see here in this picture.  The first flush of tomatoes is almost over.  I suspect that because of the hot weather the next flush will be a while in coming.  I really wasn't planning on canning tomatoes this year but there they are waiting for the canner.

Pumpkins from Terra Nova Gardens 
This has been an amazing year even with the hot dry weather.  These pumpkins were harvested from the garden a few days ago.  Normally pumpkins are not ripe until September in Nebraska.  The neighbor across the street from where I live grew these at Terra Nova Gardens.  Bradley my grandson is on the right and the neighbor's son is on the left.  Since this picture was taken my neighbor has sampled the watermelon and gave his seal of approval.  Most gardeners this year have said that the size of the vegetables are smaller but the flavor is wonderful.  It's like the flavor of a normal sized vegetable is packed into the smaller size.

In the last post, I wrote about the picnic table and the lawn mower that had been donated to the Terra Nova Gardens and Urban Ranch to help with the care and maintenance.  Since then the donations for the garden have rolled in a steady pace.

Donated tiller
This is a donated tiller.  Everything looks to be good but it just won't fire up.  I checked the spark, air cleaner, and compression.  All look good.  Upon removing the spark plug for inspection, it appears to be getting gas so I'm stumped as to what could be the problem.  I have it in the shop now to see if it's worth fixing.  I suspect it will need a carburetor kit or something minor to get it into service.  It will be a great asset for the garden.

A few days ago a friend of mine called to ask me if I could use a composter.  My mind thought of a plastic barrel that held a small amount of compost material.  Much to my surprise when I went to pick it up, it was the deluxe model.  This composter now resides by the raised beds in my backyard.  It will be come the composter for these beds which will now be used for growing plants for the big garden (Terra Nova Gardens).

In addition to these items the list continues.  Someone gave a refrigerator for storage, another gave string for the weed whacker, wire tomato cages, a roll of weed barrier, and yet another gave a roll of chainlink fence fabric.  All of these can be used at Terra Nova Gardens.  It has taken on a life of its own.  Even if folks can't go and work there they want to be a part of the project by donations.  I never thought it woud end up like this that first day when I showed up with a spade, hoe, and a rake.  Unbelieveable favor has been shown to me by everyone that has heard about Old Nebraska Dave and his garden.  I am truly overwhelmed by all the interest.

My daughter, who has no interest in gardening, has gotten involved.  She works for Walgreens.  A couple days ago, the store where she works was cleaning out the garden seed section.  They can't just give away product but they can give big discounts.  She convinced the store manager to sell her all the left over seed packages to her for a penny a piece.  She brought home 270 some packs of every kind of vegetables herbs imagineable.  Oh, yeah, and her manager only charged her $2.00.  These are packages that orginally sold for a dollar a piece.  I have started communcating with penpals through letter writing from the GRIT personals.  Even they have sent sunflower and catalope seeds for the garden next year.  It blows my mind how things just keep coming into my possession for the new garden.

Terra Nova Gardens July 2012
This is Terra Nova Gardens in July 2012.  I still can't believe how far its come in just one year.  My neighbor across the street that grew the pumpkins has encouraged me to pursue the idea of sinking a well in the area where the spring is.  That would be in front of my truck just past the picnic table and to the left behind the big cottonwood tree.  Even in this dry weather there is water on the surface.  It's down about six or eight inches from Spring level but still has plenty of water in it.  It's about maybe 10 feet in diameter and serves as a watering hole for much of the wild life.  Life goes on at Terra Nova Gardens.

Have a great August everyone.  Let me know if the garden has left you good fortune this year.  If you have any extra rain, can you please send it my way? :0)

nebraska dave
8/20/2012 12:21:07 AM

Mary, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm hoping to coax a few tomatoes out of all the green ones that are left. I have lots of green tomatoes left. The one experimental zucchini looked awesome until some thing broke all the stems and ate most of the leaves. I didn't get the gate built soon enough. The plant still looks ok and the experiment was a great success. I wanted to know if planting squash category plants later in the season (July) would circumvent the dreaded vine borer life cycle. It appears that it does. Next year I will be planted all my squash related plants in July and harvesting them late in the season. I haven't harvested the green bell peppers yet but finally it looks like they are going to produce a crop. That will be about six weeks late. I hope all the hooligans are behaving (rolling eyes). Have a great day in the country.

mary carton
8/19/2012 1:59:03 AM

Dave, my tomatoes have started to come in, and like yours are smaller than normal, but great tasting. I have a few peppers left and that's it for my garden. Hopefully next year I can run a water line to my new gardening area. Corn is being combined, but I suspect yields are way down, as it's been hot and dry here. Sounds like you have started a community garden. May it be bigger and better next year.

nebraska dave
8/13/2012 7:25:00 PM

Allan, I never thought I would get such an active response when I started writing about Terra Nova Gardens. Everyone always asks about how things are going at the garden. It's been a great experience for sure. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

8/13/2012 1:13:10 PM

It's just wonderful that way your friends and neighbors are pulling together to help you get Terra Nova Gardens up and running. Thumbs up to everyone.

nebraska dave
8/11/2012 12:25:11 AM

Shannon, Fall planting? Maybe next year. Right now I'm in process of digging out the ground water spring. I plan on digging a pit the is three feet deep and a maybe six feet wide and seven feet long. I have it about half dug and it takes about six hours to fill. So I could possibly net over 1000 gallons of ground water ever 12 hours if needed. I have only been using 100 gallons every other day so 50 gallons a day should be very doable. Once I get the pit dug then I'll just build a platform over it and put a pipe down into the pit and pump the water out with a pump. This should keep me busy for awhile, don't you think? Have a great fall garden planning day.

s.m.r. saia
8/10/2012 2:17:41 PM

Dave, it doesn't surprise me that things are going this way for you as you're a very generous person and what comes around goes around!! That is so awesome! And oh my gosh, those pumpkins!!! I can't grow a pumpkin to save my life. WOW. So glad things have gone well for you this year with the new garden space. Your tomatoes are beautiful. Are you planting anything for fall?

nebraska dave
8/9/2012 2:22:42 PM

Heather, maybe I could plant some Romanesque. I'd have to find someplace to buy the seeds. Any suggestions? A google search comes up with a little different name but the picture still looks the same. They call it Romanesco Broccoli but the description says it's a unique type of large compact cauliflower-type plant. I don't think the experts know what to call it. Is it Broccoli or is it Cauliflower? It it Romanesque or is it Romanesco? Who cares as long as it tastes good. :0) Have a great day in the garden.

8/8/2012 1:14:25 PM

Dave, Maybe you can plant some Romanesque!

nebraska dave
8/8/2012 12:07:03 PM

Joan, you are too kind with your nice words. I just have energy to use in a practical way so that's where it all went so far this year. I'm already into how things will change for next year. This year has been a great all around year. I hope you can accomplish all that you want as well in the garden. Have a great day in the garden.

joan pritchard
8/7/2012 11:15:19 PM

All in all, it seems like you accomplished a lot this year. You inspire me.