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.


Brian Johnson said...

Hilling potatoes? Use whatever blocks light and allows for root growth. Compost would be fine. The idea is to keep potatoes growing near the surface from turning green- an indication they are concentrating solanine in their flesh. Solanine is a natural toxin found in members of the nightshade family that collects in the green parts of the plant.

Jennie said...

I used compost and it seems to be working.