Tag Archives: potatoes

In the garden: June

It’s amazing to realize its been a month since i took you on a visual tour around the garden! I personally survey it every morning and afternoon and am amazed at all the changed that happen on daily basis to all the plants. Nature is truly a marvelous thing.

Peas came in well this year, with the first batch being done and second ripening close behind. And not counting all the wonderful greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, parsley, dill, mustard greens and radishes) the next exciting big thing we are looking forward to are the potatoes, which have been now twice hilled (or in our case, “filled”) and are starting to flower.

We have also been overwhelmed by the chamomile flowers and are having an impossible time keeping up. Our house is filled with drying chamomile!
Its seeded freely from last year and in most placed i left it to grow, because its called “garden’s physician”, making all plants that grow next to it healthy 🙂 And as an added bonus, ladybugs love it – might be because aphids do to! – but ladybugs in the garden means less aphids and less potato bugs. So yes to chamomile all the way!

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Lettuce in the shade of second year carrots getting ready to flower.

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Chamomile!

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Growing potatoes

Growing potatoes is very rewarding because, unlike most vegetables that provide garnish, potatoes actually provide meals, which makes them very important to any self-suffciency goal oriented gardener.

When planting potatoes, it is important to plant seed potatoes that have not been treated, like most store bought ones. We think its important to go for organic as well, and varieties that will suit your needs. If you plan to store them: plant good winter keepers! This year we are planting Yukon Golds (notoriously good keepers) and Desiree red potatoes, which do not keep as well, but are delicious. We got our seed potatoes from Peaceful Valley – 7 pounds of Yukon Gold and 3 pounds of Desiree. We plan to get 100 pounds of potatoes, since under good conditions 1 pound yields 10!

Store potatoes around 40 degrees to prevent sprouting, and, conversely, if you desire to “green” them to speed up the process, take them into a warmer place to sprout the eyes a week or two before planting. Make sure to always keep potatoes out of direct sunlight. When you are getting ready to plant, a week or so prior, cut the potatoes into a few pieces at least 2 oz each, making sure each one contains 1-2 eyes. If the potatoes are rather small, its better to keep them whole. Leave the cut pieces for a few days in the storage container so the cuts can heal – this decreases the chances of rotting once planted.

The potato piece with the eye becomes the root base of the potato plant, as the plant grows, it will form potatoes along the stem, however, the potatoes turn green and become toxic when exposed to sunlight. This phenomenon is a natural defense mechanism for potatoes and other members of the nightshade family, to prevent the uncovered fruit from being eaten. The green color is from chlorophyl and is harmless, READ MORE… >

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2 weeks before last frost

At two weeks before last frost we should be doing second plantings of lettuce and spinach, yet, with the colder weather and lack of rain we have been having, we have seen no sprouting as of yet, so we have postponed second plantings for another week.

The only seed planting we will be doing this weekend is the first sunflowers. They can be staggered every 5-6 weeks to ensure maximum resiliency to pests and continuos bloom and yield. We will planting Renee’d Garden Heirloom Titan this year. Also, we are planning to cover crop the area of the garden that will not be getting used for the next 1-2 months.

We will be cutting up potatoes, dividing up the eyes  – to let them dry up  for about a week before planting (this is ton ensure that the cut heals and there is less chance of rotting int he ground). Cutting into pieces containing 2-3 eyes, about 1-2 ounces each, and storing them in a dark, cool place until the time is right – currently planning to plant them in 17/18th of April.

You can also “green” the potatoes by placing them at room temperature and indirect sunlight for the eyes to sprout. However, if the sprouts get too long (more than 1-2″) they might be difficult to handle and break off during planting.

We got 7 lb Organic Yukon Gold and 3 lb Organic Red Desiree potatoes from Peaceful Valley . In good conditions, 1 lb of potatoes shoud yield 10 lbs, so the plan is to get 100 lbs out of our 10 lb planted. Desiree would have to be eaten first, and Yukon Gold, being a great winter keeper, kept over winter.

We also have plans to transplant our berry bushes into their outdoor containers, since they have had adequate time to adjust after shipping and can be moved outside, given the weather stays mild and does not revert to freezing.

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