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New Year, New Garden Brainy Ideas

Adventures of Old Nebraska DaveJanuary has brought some unusual temperatures to Nebraska. The entire last week was 40s and 50s. This week and on into next week will be the same. Everyone is enjoying the spring-like temperatures with reservations as February can be just as brutal as January. There could still be a lot of punch left in the Nebraska winter. I'm not sure that these warm temperatures are good for plants and trees. I've always been told that long periods of warm weather followed by severe cold is what causes winter kill in plants. I'm hoping that all my rose bushes I planted two years ago will make it and the one I transplanted last fall will come through this unstable weather pattern.

I've been starting to think about the coming garden year and the starting of seeds in February. Onions will be the first to go on the heat mat. I'm not sure what will be next, but I'll find something to keep the heat mat going through the next couple months.

Some of you will remember the bucket gardening I started last year with automatic watering. This concept was great and would have done well if it were not for the weather elements that kept beating down all gardens last year.

bucket gardening

The lessons I learned from the first year were many. This double row of buckets on top of the raised bed was a multilevel growing concept and worked great except the center strip was a nightmare to keep weeded. There just wasn't enough room to reach down in there and weed efficiently. Therefore it became a weed strip instead of a cabbage strip. This year only one bucket rain gutter will be put on each raised bed.

The next brainy idea uses this same concept but in a basement environment.

basement bucket gardening

It's pretty similar to the outside set up and uses the same buckets. Yeah, you see where I'm going with this, don't you? The next step after this was to hang grow lights above the buckets to give them plenty of light. I really wanted to use this to grow salads during the winter months, but again life got in the way and the last two weeks have been spent driving friends and family to and from doctors' appointments or running errands for them during their recovery. It's too late for salad growing, but the next use for this will be to plant tomatoes and green peppers after they get to transplant size from the seed starting station. I'm hoping to give them a much earlier than normal start in these buckets, then take them outside on the same set up when the weather warms up.

Now the good part is these are totally portable so if a late frost comes like last year, they can be taken back inside until the threat is over. If high winds and hail come with seven inches of rain like last year, they come inside. It's an awesome way to help plants avoid the nasty weather elements that weather men say we should expect from now on. For the later normal garden planting, many extra plants will be started so that extra plants for a second, third and fourth planting if needed will be ready. The weather won't catch me without extra plants to replace damaged ones again.

Inaugural BallWe elected a new governor this year in Nebraska. Every four years when the governor is re-elected or newly elected, an Inaugural Ball is scheduled.

Oh, yeah, that's really me. I was just the tag-along escort. My good friend Karen was the famous one. It was great to see how the other half lived just for one night. I feel ever so much more comfortable in a flannel shirt and blue jeans at a Mother Earth News Fair. Every once in awhile I just have to shock everyone and tuxedo up for a night. It was great but I don't think I'll be repeating it any time soon.

I hope and pray everyone is having the greatest of new years. May your health be good and all your bills paid through out the entire year.

elizabethsagarminaga
2/8/2015 10:33:33 PM

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nebraskadave
1/30/2015 10:33:21 AM

mobricklayer37, I mixed up my special mix of garden soil which is just a slight level below potting mix. I used one back of Organic Miracle gro garden soil, one bag of compost/cow manure from the local nursery (don't stink at all), a five gallon bucket of sphagnum moss, one 3 pound coffee can of perlite, one cup of garden lime, and a handful of Epsom Salts. I use a compost tumbler to mix all the ingredients together. One batch will fill four five gallon buckets. It should be good to grow just about any thing. ***** Have a great day planning your garden.


mobricklayer37
1/29/2015 6:26:56 PM

what type soil did you use-regular old dirty-or bagged like miracle grow?


nebraskadave
1/29/2015 9:16:12 AM

Mary, thanks for the kind words. I've not had really good luck with onions in the past either. I'm getting better so just keep trying. I'm convinced that I just have to find the right onion for my area of the country so I keep trying different ones hoping to find just the right one to fit our growing conditions. Some times all those awesome looking pictures of plants in the seed catalogs are not grown in my area. I'm learning that not all seeds are developed for my growing conditions and that even with my TLC, they just won't grow well here because they weren't developed for my weather patterns. ***** Have a great day and thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.


mary
1/27/2015 6:41:16 AM

Hi, Dave! Mary from Old Dog New Tricks. Interesting blog! It looks like you are prepared for most anything this coming summer! Yes, it is time to start thinking about onions, again which was a total failure last year. I'm not sure how "my garden will grow" this year, but I assume I'll give it a good try. We are cutting back, though. BTW, a handsome picture of you!!!