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Thursday, July 24, 2008

True Joys

One of the true joys in life (well my life) is knowing what I am providing for my family.

In the Garden - we have lots of the veggies we will need to freeze and use through winter. For next year the garden will of course have to be tweaked so growing times of plants are set up for us in our short season things like sweet potatoe slips will need to be started early but this years garden is more of an experiment. The work of getting it started and getting the beds ready took away from actual planting so with plenty of preparation this fall things will be better for spring next year

things like

once the gardening season is over I plan on tilling the soil and adding compost to it to build the beds deeper

we are going to use some boards (old barn board we found on the land) and build up the sides of the beds and then cover the beds with black landscaping fabric

I find great satisfaction in walking out to the garden several times a day to check things out today I found one of the nastursiums blooming. several little cucumbers(I have never been able to get them to grow before now every plant is producing) and in the rock garden bed where my pretty flowers are I saw a calla lily blooming.

For me those kinds of things bring joy

Zach was very excited when i told him that FINALLY the peas are starting to produce. You would have thought I just informed him that there is a new ice cream stand in our backyard giving out free samples to every kid whose first name starts with a Z

(the boy likes his veggies)

Zach has also been experimenting with herbs

(sounds horrible to put it that way)

he likes to use them when he cooks himself some eggs so today he tried something without asking me first he added

Basil leaves, thyme, rosemary, to his eggs

needless to say he discovered that while these spices are tasty they are probably not best when combined with eggs

so we fed that mess to the pigs

I contacted the local person for the farmers market I am excited it starts in August

I am excited because it would be a neat place to sell things like eggs or my fancy bread but sadly because of state laws I would need to have my farm inspected and have a separate kitchen for making things so I will instead sell things like veggies and herbs from my little extras perhaps I will go out and look for some fresh herbs and see if anyone wants to buy things like camomile flowers (they grow wild on the roadside if you know what to look for)

Little joys make days better


Anonymous said...

Hey I have a question! How//when do you start your potatoes?? It seems that all the info online sort of assumes the reader already knows how to do things. But I don't, so I'm confused. When do you set potatoes aside to grow their "eyes?" and then when do you plant them? I've heard of potatoes over-wintering...but I thought that taters were planted in the spring?

Sue said...

All excellent questions

I start my potatoes in the spring as soon as the last frost is gone
around here that is roughly the last week of May or like this year it can be as late as the second week of June

So when you start them depends on your climate since mine is very cold I have to not allow them to freeze. this is why I am excited about using the old tires because they retain heat well and it should extend thier growing season amd around here having even an extra week is helpful

As for setting eyes I use potatoes that I have bought I put them on the counter in the dark corner(my kitchen faces north) it is slightly humid but not so much that they will get moldy or rot indirect light is good but dark is better so putting them in a paper bag works well I leave mine on the counter in the open because I would forget the paper bag even if it was marked and that would lead to problems

It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for the eyes on the potatoes to grow enough to be planted

If you are using a larger potato you will want to cut it so that each section has 2 or 3 eyes on it let this sit on the counter to "scab" (basically that means just so the cut ends harden up a bit so they are not moist anymore)

then you stick them in the dirt and cover them so the eye is just covered with a small amount of dirt as you see more of the plant growing add more dirt to the pile then plant will keep growing add more dirt

If using tires add a tire when the plant goes over the top of the tire and fill it with dirt

come fall when the green part of the potato plant turns brown I will be able to empty the tires with the dirt and potatoes

you have to keep mounding dirt around the potato plant to keep the potatoes from turning green inside (if you ever peeled a potato and you see some green this is why)

at least this is what I have found out

I have grown potatoes 2 times in my life the first time the plant was started too late and all we had from it was about 7 small potatoes they worked great for a stew and it was a neat experiment

the other time was a failed attempt at growing them in a bucket the plant rotted and died

You can only overwinter potatoes in a milder climate (as far as I know) I live near a lot of potato farmers and I know none of them overwinter thier plants but we get a hard freeze to about 3 feet deep in winter time (ground freezes rock solid)

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Thanks for the help! I would really love to get some of those blue or purple know what I'm talking the spring, but we'll see. Potatoes are one of the more expensive things to buy from a seed catalog, so we may well make do with regular grocery store taters til a couple growing seasons from now. I started out with a huge list of things I wanted to grow, but I keep having to whittle it down, so that in the end we end up with the bare basics. Really, that's the way it ought to be any-ol-way, since this will be my first *real* garden, intended to feed the fam. I don't need to be going all fancy-potatoes right off the bat :)

Sue said...

Well try different kinds if you can go to a local farmers market try to find some of those neat ones and give them a shot

I know that using the tire method I can get several pounds of taters (my brother used a barrel method and I recall him saying he got 10lbs from one seed tater I never know if he is telling me the truth or BSing me cause I am VERY gullible)

I wittled down our list as well

I dream of being able to have an orchard and a huge strawberry patch and nice neat clean paths between my razzberry bushes and blackberry bushes

and of course an herb garden

I want to grow and sell my extra herbs at the local farmers market I grow them and use some fresh and dry some and take the plants inside in the winter I have had basil survive my house but not much else I tend to grow and use A LOT of basil

I wish that the melons were doing better this year but sadly I don't think I will have any melons from my plants

I have growing right now

4 varieties of tomatoes roughly 200 plants (Roma big boy jelly bean rutgers)

4 varieties of peppers habenero,jalepeno, red bell and yellow bell (the green bell pepper plants died!) I actually have teeny tiny jalepeno peppers on one plant these will need to be started earlier inside next year

I have 3 different types of watermelon (about 10 plants)

3 different types of pumpkins(about 10 plants)

I have one type of cucumber (I was lazy with cucumbers they nevr grew for me before so I was not hopeful) straight eight about 14 plants with the cutest tiny tiny cucumbers on it!

I have 16 celery plants I did not start these from seed Dave found them for me I have seeds now though so I will start my own next year

I have a patch of peas

a patch of lettuce (black seeded simpson) and because it has been so cool here it is still producing like mad and delicious and I never liked lettuce

we have some corn growing no where NEAR what I want to grow because I want to use corn to not only feed us I want to use it to feed our animals too but I have some corn growing in a couple of patches and in between the corn I have some canteloupe plants (no guarentees if I will get any of those melons either)

and a patch of carrots planted by Tim

and some onions too

In Zach's garden we have some decorative snake goards some more orn one sweet potatoe plant that we started from a sweet potatoe (we made our own slips gotta do that again next year and gotta start them earlier) then we have more melons pumkins more canteloupe

I have one lone squash plant a thing of black beans growing and a couple pots of assorted herbs (thyme rosemary basil oregano parsley lavender and peppermint)

of course I know I am missing things from our regular diet that we eat normally

I want broccoli the kids LOVE broccoli and eat tons of it but my plants did not do well as seedlings

and oddly enough the spinach did not grow this year

I am already starting a fall garden with more lettuce and spinach and broccoli

we are just about ready to harvest the peas (another couple of days and Zach can finally have some peas he will be so happy I am going to start him another set in his garden he will be thrilled)

basically go through what you eat regularly see what you can pair down and what you can grow and try out things also see if there are neighbors you can share the load with

if your neighbor is good at growing tomatoes and you are good at cucumbers then get together and make the trade