Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Spring Time Activities

Adventures of Old Nebraska DaveSpring is truly trying to come to my part of the world.  Sixty degree days are pure torture when the temperature says come out side the weather is nice but the garden soil says get outa here I'm still frozen and sleepin' (In a grouchy irritated voice) What's an over anxious cooped up all winter gardener supposed to do?  Well, here's what I did to over come all the pent up garden energy.  I could only play with seedlings under the grow lights in the basement for just so long.  I couldn't take it any more and had to break out.

Frustrated Gardener

Yes, that's right.  I broke out the mattock pick axe and chopped out the frozen ground. I was going to rejuvenate my backyard raised beds anyway. The frozen chunks were heaved over on an adjacent bed and the thawed soil was taken to the compost tumbler. Ten gallons of raised bed soil along with five gallons of peat moss, a coffee can of vermiculite, a cup full of lime, and a couple hand fulls of Epsom salts to complete the mix. 

Soil Mixing in Composter

Oh, yeah, getting a work-out today. It came out of the tumbler light and fluffy. It should really make the veggies grow good. It snowed again last night with temperatures down to 26 but another soil temperature check showed that the six-inch depth was 50 degrees. That's five degrees warmer than yesterday. Tomorrow it will be back in the 60s with temps in the 50s and 60s all week. I'm hoping to get my onions and cabbages hardened off and in the ground by the end of the week.

First batch done

There's the first batch of rejuvenated soil in the bed. The whole bed took a total of six batches to complete the bed. Next comes the rain gutter growing system. I'll have another whole post on how that's put together but here's a little preview of what it will look like.

Rain gutter watering system

These rain gutters have to perfectly level end to end and with each other. My big rain water tank will feed these gutters through a mini float valve to keep them full of water. Buckets filled with special growing medium will set on top of the gutters with a wick system to keep the soil in the buckets watered from the gutters. Yeah, I know, I had too much time on my hands this winter and the Internet is full of way out there stuff. This looks like it could actually work and would interface with my watering system really well.

My twist to this whole thing is to add multilevel growing. The bed under the gutters will have cabbages down the center strip and onions, lettuce, and radishes along the side strips. Of course that will have to be hand watered. It's just a totally radical experiment to see if it can work.

Potatoes will be another experiment this year but that's for another post. Spring is off to a running start with awesome ideas floating around in my head.

Oh, one more thing. I'm thinking about buying another property. This is just to hold and keep for a couple years until I decide what to do with it.

New property

It's a corner lot that measures 44 by 60 feet. The going price is $100. It's fairly level and would have great potential for a garden. This would be a landscape and more of corner beautification kind of garden. However, among the flowers, bushes and landscaping, there just might be a few onions, lettuce or radishes. Like I said this would a couple years down the road. In the mean time, I'd have the EPA do its thing before I got started. The houses on both sides are for sale. Not interested in houses.

Ideas abound for 2014. It's going to be a great year. I'm hoping the weather co-operates with your gardening in your part of the country. Until the next time.