Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Spring Was Busy

Adventures of Old Nebraska DaveThis spring has been a busy one with great accomplishments. March was the beginning of the outside gardening with working on the spring platform. That effort has since been transferred over to the issue of watering the plants and keeping them alive. We are now in the throes of a hot dry spell. We have had very little rain in the month of June. Barely 2 inches of the over 4 that we normally average. The temperatures are in the 90s and approaching 100 degrees more days then not. I like to be in Terra Nova Gardens, a 20 minute drive from where I live, by 5:45 a.m. just as the sun is rising up over the trees. Terra Nova Gardens has clear sunshine from sunrise to about 2:30 in the afternoon. Then the shadow from the steep hill to the west of the garden begins to creep across the the garden. By 4:00 p.m. the garden is in full shadow mode. I've always considered that shaded afternoon a plus especially this year with the extreme heat.

I'm one step closer to irrigation for Terra Nova Gardens.

Barrel in Spring

The natural spring on Terra Nova Gardens property is a mucky sticky silt that is difficult to dig out. I have a source of free barrels of practically any size. This is a 55 gallon barrel that I cut the bottom out and set in the spring. Then a post hole digger was used to remove the muck from inside the barrel. As the muck is removed the barrel was pushed deeper and deeper into the spring. Here you can see that it's set about 2/3 of the way down in the spring. Since this picture a few more inches have been removed and the barrel is set lower. The hope is to get the full barrel down into the spring. Right now I can remove about 40 gallons of water with a pump into a mini water tower in the middle of the garden. Hopefully, by summer's end, two more barrels will be sunk into the spring giving me a total of about 150 gallons of water ready to fill the mini tower.

Water tower Base

This is the base of the mini water tower. The supports need to hold about 1500 pounds of weight. As you can see they are not evenly spaced. A pallet has been used for the platform and the 2X4 supports didn't have one in the middle. I suspect that these six supports will be quite sufficient even though the weight isn't quite evenly distributed. I have a tendency to over engineer things anyway.

Barrels on Water Tower

Well, here's the finished tower. It was finished just in time for the heat wave. I've been watering daily and using about 40 gallons a day to keep the tomatoes, green peppers, pumpkins, and watermelons happy. All the logistics are in place, but it does need a bit of tidying up. For now I'm just glad not to have to haul water to the garden.

The raccoons are messing around in the corn already so the sweet corn fortress is fully active. The electric fence is pulsing away to zap anything the comes near. I set the live trap and lost my first two fruit pies without catching anything. The little buggers were reaching through the sides and pulling the delight out without going inside the trap. So the next time the trap is set, the sides where the yummy delight is placed will be built up with rocks so they can't reach through. I suspect I'll have to cover the top and the back as well. They are devious little rascals. I'm in full battle mode against the raccoons.

First tomato

Last year my first tomato was July 5th. I thought it was a date that would not be beat for some time. June 22nd was the first tomato with two more turning. I expect to harvest them in a couple more days. These two tomatoes are coming from a plant that was devastated by hail the last week of May. Not only did the four hail plants survive but came back stronger than ever. It was an amazing thing to witness. So, yeah, a little bacon, some lettuce, first tomato of the season, and mayo and nothing says summer like the first garden-fresh BLT of the year.

Potatoes are in bloom, beans are in bloom, tomatoes are in bloom, pumpkins are in bloom, ah, it's a wonderful time to be a gardener, don't you think?

What are you harvesting?

nebraskadave
7/3/2016 6:34:56 PM

Finally, some rain. It was only an inch but the nice slow drizzle over the period of one day was just the way it was needed. Not much else going on other than weeding and watering this week. ***** Happy 4th to one and all.


nebraskadave
6/27/2016 2:49:00 PM

Weeding and watering are the main things happening in the garden this week. There has not been any signs of activity inside the sweet corn fortress since I turned on the electric fence. The first bed is in full tassel and second not far behind. The third bed was never planted and is but a weed bed right at the moment. By weeks end I might have the bed cleaned up. There are three beds that won't be planted this year.


nebraskadave
6/27/2016 2:39:52 PM

June 27 Charlotte, the raccoons don't seem to bother any thing in my garden except the sweet corn. The tomatoes, green peppers, onions, pumpkins, and watermelons all seem to be of no interest to the raccoons. I baited a live trap to try to catch them but the little bugger didn't go in the cage to grab the Hostess pie. He reached in through the side and pulled the yummy delight out through the wire opening in the side of the cage. Have a great day in the garden.


charlotteb
6/26/2016 5:02:20 PM

Thanks for the update on the Corn fortress. I have raccoons around my neighborhood also but so far they are more interested in the leftover cat food on the sidewalk than my tomato garden. I may have to keep feeding them cat food to protect my tomatoes! I put a 24" chicken wire fence around the garden, but it's mostly to keep the cats out.


nebraskadave
6/24/2016 8:25:37 PM

June 24 Harvested two more tomatoes today. These are even more surprising that the first one. They are from the hail damaged plants that I almost replaced. The heat wave and dry spell continues. Daily watering also continues.