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The Official Gardening Year Begins

Adventures of Old Nebraska DaveThe gardening juices are beginning to flow even though it is about six weeks before winter is over — that's the official determination by the ever-so-famous Punxsutawny Phil of Pennsylvania. So I'll be deep in the bowels of my basement where seed starting begins. It's a bit too early, so if they get too big too fast then I'll just harvest them as micro greens and plant more. It's a way to get my fingers in the dirt and satisfy my desire to be in the garden.

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day. As for me, I went to Terra Nova Gardens to see just what shape it was in; I haven't been there in a couple months. Old, dried-up grass abounded even after the frost.

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I found the ground thawed and soft. It was too wet to work any of the beds and way too early. If the weather stays warm like the forecasters are saying then those weed seeds will be sprouting early this year. We have been about 20 degrees above normal temperatures all week. It reached 67 degrees today and is expected to be in the 60s through the weekend and into next week. If this is winter weather for Nebraska, I'm wondering what the summer will be like.

I wrapped up the electric wire around the Sweet Corn Fortress and pulled out the fence to the west in preparation for the garden expansion. I would like to get two to three more beds built before planting time. As I worked in the bright warm sunshine, I began thinking about Valentine's Days in past years and how it has changed for me. When my wife was alive and romance was still active in my life, Valentine's Day had a completely different aspect to it. As I contemplated the change, I came to a conclusion that a garden and a romantic relationship are a lot alike. If they aren't given almost daily attention, weeds will grow and choke the life out of them. I'm not saying I have a romantic relationship with my garden. I'm just saying there's some comparisons.

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Today, was another bright, warm, sunshine day. I couldn't just sit at home when the garden beckoned me to be there. I've been saving cardboard to help with weed suppression; I need all the help I can get. This garden spot has been wild and unruly for decades. This will be my sixth year for gardening here, and still it's a battle to keep the weeds from breaking out. The above picture is my battleground for this year. First cardboard was laid down, then old carpet was laid on top of that. Hopefully by the end of the year there will be more beds that will look like the first picture in this post.

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Around Valentine's Day, I try to get my onions and cabbages started. The TP rolls are onions and the seed cells are cabbages. Onions need a deep root trainer, so the TP rolls are just the thing. A total of 64 onions and 20 cabbages have been planted. They are resting on the heat mat for three days, then will be under the grow lights. Another three weeks will mark the beginning of tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant, and possibly some flowers. Some time around the beginning of May will be the pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers. It's the calm before the busy time of the spring.

I love this time of the year. What are your plans for this year?


Nebraska Dave
Urban Farmer
dbentz24@gmail.com