Terra Nova Garden Plans for the New Year

Well, here we are already into February of the new year. My mind is roaring with garden thoughts and ideas for this garden year. Some are a continuation of projects from last year and others are new ideas. Regardless, there are always more ideas, desires, and wishes than time to make them happen. Many things will be put into practice this year from what I learned last year.

The first couple weeks of January were actually relatively mild with temperatures above freezing almost every day. Alas, it was not be for very long. Storm Jonas came along and brought about eight inches of snow but it was slow enough not to cause too much slow down of the city where I live. Two weeks later, however, along came Kayla. That snow was heavy, wet, and crippled the city even though it was only five inches. School was cancelled for two days. I never had that luxury when I was in school. Yeah, we aren’t going there. Of course the grandson living with me hooted, hollered, and did a funky dance when he heard the good news especially on the second day. Life is now back to normal. The groundhog didn’t see his shadow so Winter is supposed to be over but old Phil’s record has not been the best for predicting the end of Winter so I guess we will just wait and see. Well enough of that. Let’s get on with gardening.

I planted these buckets about a month ago just to see if I could grow some greens during the Winter months. On the left are radishes and on the right are lettuce plants. I did a dumb thing and planted an entire package of seeds in each bucket. I think each seed germinated twice. I’ve thinned out the plants several times and still they are continuing to fill up the buckets. A long time blogger friend just promoted a book on growing Winter greens. I was doing just that and didn’t even know it. It’s not about growing plants to maturity but just sprouting greens in soil instead of in a jar. These that you see here are ready for harvest. Nice. I’ll be starting the onions and cabbage seeds next week.

I have big plans for Terra Nova Gardens this year. With multiple protection layers around the sweet corn area, I just might be sinking my teeth into a juicy ear of sweet by August. The last four years the deer and raccoons have devastated the corn patch down to the last kernel. I just have a few holes to plug in the finished fence and it should be relatively secure. If nothing else gets completed this year the sweet corn fortress will. I’ve worked on the big fence for three years and finally finished it this last year. I talked about the sweet corn fortress in the last post. If you missed it click here to see it.

I have been scanning the apartment dumpsters this Winter to acquire more tear out carpet for weed control. I’ve found enough to cover another 32 X 32 foot area which will become the vine plants this year. The carpet will be laid out with two foot planting strips uncovered every 10 feet. I suspect there will be about three of those that are 28 feet long. As the vines grow, the carpet will be rolled up exposing more soil surface. Vines need soil to root their nodules along the vine length. Hopefully, I can keep the vine borers at bay and perhaps get some pumpkins, watermelons, and squash for harvest.

The fourth section of the garden will just be covered by carpet to keep the weeds down this year. Future plans for three more raised beds, an 8 X 8 foot storage shed, and a cold frame are for this area but that will have to be for another year.

For all you folks that have sweethearts, I wish the best Valentines Day for you. There’s no sweethearts in Nebraska Dave’s life. The celebration for me is to consume the bargain bin Reese’s peanut-butter-filled chocolate hearts that my daughter brings home after Valentine’s Day from where she works. Yes, I am a Reese’s addict. I fully admit I have no control if anything Reese’s is in the house and don’t intend to change. Nebraska Phil, the distant cousin to Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania, was nowhere to be seen. In fact, I haven’t seen him in a couple years but I know he’s still around. Occasionally, I cover up his den entrance and find that the next day it’s uncovered so he’s been in the stealth mode the last couple years. Anyway, he would have predicted an early spring because he wouldn’t have seen his shadow because it was snowing all day.

The weather here has been up and down all Winter. Sometimes it’s bitter cold, sometimes it’s fairly warm. We’ve had snow, rain, sleet, ice balls, and all other sorts of weather conditions. Yeah, it’s been pretty much a normal Winter for Nebraska. I suppose we have received close to 20 inches of total snowfall this Winter with perhaps about five inches still on the ground. Temperatures in the 40s will melt that rather quickly over the next couple days. I like seeing snow. It’s the best thing for the garden this time of the year. When it melts the nitrogen rich moisture soaks slowly into the soil to water and fertilize the soil.

For those that start seeds, happy seed starting and for those that don’t, happy garden planning.

Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the Spring and ends in the Fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January in a dream. —Josephine Nuese

  • Published on Feb 8, 2016
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