Monday, June 22, 2009

Potato Mission Deux

Happy Summer Solstice everyone. Enjoy these days, they are only getting shorter from here on out. This light cycle is what triggers bulbing in onions. Southern states who enjoy less variation in day length get to grow onions that don't need that cycle to bulb. Did ya know that? :-) Now you do. Speaking of onions, mine are doing just what they are supposed to. I can see the tops of onions forming.

Well I got the potatoes hilled this morning. Baby and I went out first thing, and glad we did too, it's supposed to top 100 in the heat index today. I could see little buds where flowers are forming. My gardening book says that's a sign that potatoes are starting to form under the soil. I'll need to keep up on their water while they are flowering. Luckily the rain showers are doing my work for me right now.

Green beans are putting on flowers too. I need to get a succession planting done soon. :-)

Hope this first day of summer finds you well. More exciting garden blogging soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Herb harvest

I harvested the first round of herbs from my container garden yesterday. I filled the dehydrator, that's not bad for mid-June. Dehydrated some strawberries too. Mmmm the kitchen smelled nice.
Test your herb knowledge, in the picture see if you can find the following herbs.
-Green Basil
-Red Rubin basil
-Green Sage

I harvested a large bowl full of lettuce from the Franklin Plot. They were random volunteer lettuces, but still tasty. :-) I let a couple lettuce heads go to seed in that bed last fall, just to see if I'd get any this year, I guess that little experiment was a success. Not hugely so, only three heads, but still cool.

So, my garlic experiment is starting to worry me, the bulbs aren't sending up scapes. Last year I had scapes by this point in June, and this year, not even a sign of them. They are at the farmers market, so other Iowa garlic is producing them, just not mine. *sigh* I guess I'll wait and see, maybe they are just a few weeks late.

It's been so wet here I haven't gotten my potatoes hilled yet. Did you know that green potatoes really are poisonous? That's why you have to hill, because otherwise the little potatoes get sunlight and they turn green and poisonous.

Anyway, things are growing nicely, I've got blooms on my eggplant and on my pepper plant, the onions are bulbing, the kholrabi and carrots are growing bigger, and the green beans and squashes are putting on leaves like there's no tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Potato Mission

First off, shout outs to my Daddy, who planned an awesome family trip for us! My whole little family went and joined him, and a fair chunk of his side of the family, canoeing in MO. Waaay too much fun. Baby had a blast, and thanks to grandma's and great grandma's babysitting, Dave and I even got to go canoeing at the same time on Sunday morning. We managed to navigate 2.5 hours of Jack's Fork River without tumping over or divorcing. :-)

Anyway, I checked on my Downtown Plots this morning. The West bed is full of green beans, all merrily growing and up to a few inches tall already. 2 long rows of a purple bush variety and 2 long rows of a green bush variety. I have left enough room in between the rows to grow fall crops of swiss chard or spinach or beets. (We'll see if that actually happens.)

The east bed has all the hills of squashes and cucs putting on real leaves. It also has the potatoes and they have reached 6 inches. Now, my little gardening book tells me that at 6 inches I should "hill the potatoes." So, my mission today during Rowen's nap time is to figure out exactly one should "hill the potatoes." Is it a simple matter of hoeing more dirt up? Do the hills have to be a certain shape? Is compost cool to hill with or should I use plain dirt? Can I hill too much?

Now, the more observant of you will probably be wanting to know how my potatoes got in the ground instead of my fabulously planned Vertical Potato Trial 2009. Well, the frame got built, but when it came time to put the potatoes in there, I realized I wouldn't be able to easily move it. And with plans to move houses in the next month, I was loath to put the potatoes in the frame and risk losing the whole crop. So, executive decisions were made, and the potatoes got planted in the east bed at the Downtown Plots and the frame got safely moved, and is patiently waiting for a permanent home for Vertical Potato Trial 2010. :-) Potatoes are an experiment crop for me anyway, planting them in the time honored fashion will not be a wasted experience.

I'll report back when I have some answers.