Friday, April 16, 2010

Planting potatoes

Here is a picture of our garden. I love the way it looks this time of year, all rich and brown and full of promise. And not full of weeds. As I've said before, my garden isn't pretty. It's fenced all the way around to keep out the bunnies and deer and cats and raccoons and ostriches. The metal sheets are the pathways inbetween beds. The cement pavers are to hold down the sheets when the wind gusts up to 40 mph (which it does on a frequent basis). There are also old 4x4s and tomato cages scattered about, just waiting to be used to hold down row covers and hold up tomato plants.

My garlic is looking very good. I love garlic. It's so easy to grow.

Last Wednesday we planted potatoes. The local superstition for potato planting is to get it done by Good Friday. My neighbor looked at me askance when I told her I did it this week. No problem, I'm used to askance. Hubby dug the trenches while I sliced and planted seed potatoes. Benjamin helped a lot too, by drinking most of the lemonade.

And by playing in the dirt.

And by finding worms.

Oh, and by throwing dirt on the potatoes.

Now we have three 4x12 beds of potatoes. I planted some store-bought kennebecs in the two middle plots shown above. I also planted some potatoes I saved from last year's garden, in a plot some distance from these two. I am experimenting, to see if my saved potatoes carry any residual late blight bacteria. Last year I chopped down my stalks relatively quickly after I saw the blight, in the hopes that the bacteria wouldn't travel down to the spuds themselves. I'll monitor the plants closely this summer for any signs of the disease.

It was such a lovely morning. Basking in a gloriously sunny sky, digging in the cool fertile earth, sharing this experience with my youngest son. Knowing that these memories would stay with him, my still-innocent child, memories of gardening with his mother. I was filled with contentment. What a perfect way to spend a day.

And then, just when we had finished planting, just as I was relishing the idyll of the moment, my child picks up a unused tree tube, mounts it on his shoulder and announces, "Look! I found a bazooka!"


Leigh said...

Mmm, you soil is lovely. I miss the beautiful black Midwestern soil, not finding much beauty in our red Southern dirt. The joy there though, is watching it darken with care and nourishment over the years.

I wouldn't have thought to use sheet metal for paths. Good idea to identify the beds at this stage. To often I can't remember exactly where those seeds are! I'm trying to do the same with cardboard, though that's going more slowly than planting is.

Glad your little goats are doing well.

Kathy D said...


Way to go getting those potatoes in the ground!! Whoooo Hooo! That must be a great feeling.

I think my garlic is still under a gigantic pile of leaves. Better check. After that, I will try to harvest honey from my hives- which died of cold, since all the honey is still in the hives. sigh....

Now I will have to get more bees again this year. I am determined to become a beekeeper and not kill my bees every year. since moving to Big Stone Co. I'm 0-2, to the bees detriment.

Best hopes, your friend, Kathy

Erin said...

Ostriches??? They're yours, I take it? LOL! I really miss that MN black gold soil. I don't think you're strange, our local saying is "potatoes in by St. Patrick's Day", which I like because it's soooo easy for this Irish potato lovin gal to remember! The garden looks great, so full of promise! Isn't it just like a boy to turn anything into a weapon?!

Mama Pea said...

Boy, nuthin' like making us up here near the tundra feel waaay behind on our planting! Even though we're having an unusually early spring, I'm still waiting for something bad to happen . . . like the snowstorm we had on April 20th last year!

Your soil looks WONDERFUL. That's something we lack up here. No, I don't mean rich, black, loam soil . . . just soil. Unless you "make" your own, it's hard to come by. We mostly have trees and rocks . . . that's it!

Maple Lawn Farm said...

What beautiful soil! And, of course, I always enjoy seeing pictures of your little helper!

Mr. H. said...

Your garlic is looking great, a bit ahead of ours.

I love the potato patch, it looks like you had some excellent help.:) Our grandson was helping us plant potatoes yesterday...he too was wandering around with a handful of worms.:)

Jo said...

Hi Leigh! Pictures can be deceiving -- yes, our soil is black, but it is far from lovely -- it is heavy in clay. I have spread chicken litter over it the past couple of years, but it is not enough. I think I am going to have to invest in something bigger and better to lighten the load. Any recommendations?

Hey Kathy! Thanks, it does feel good to get the potatoes in. I'm sorry about your bees! But I am glad that you are determined to keep going. When I finally get bees I will depend on you for lots of wisdom and help. As with many other things!

Howdy Erin -- Boy, wouldn't it be nice to plant potatoes in March! Although maybe we could have gotten away with it this spring, it's been so warm. Yes, my boys love fighting with anything at hand. I have tried hard to limit their exposure to violence on tv and games, but it must be a guy thing.

Hello Mama Pea -- I am crossing fingers for no more snow or frosts. If we get any, I'm afraid I will lose a lot of the stuff I have planted. Sometimes you just gotta risk it! And see my note to Leigh above -- my soil is mostly clay, not loam. You must have worked pretty hard clearing rocks from your garden, it looks very nice.

Hi Tammy! Yes, I have several helpers around the house! Although my eldest has picked up on the idea of allowances, and he wants payment for a lot of his helping now! Not that he gets it most of the time, Lol!

Hello Mr. H -- Thanks -- a garden compliment from you is praise indeed! Did your grandson want to bring the worms inside the house? Our little one did, it took some convincing to talk him out of it.

Katidids said...

Just found your blog thru Mama Pea, great use of the siding! Here quite a few use carpet strips to cover pathways. Shh Dont tell anyone but my taters ar not in the ground yet!
Your helper is a doll. I remember the days of adding softner to the rinse and finding worms floating. Aaron always had pockets of worms and afew would slip by in the pocket check. Great gardening!

Mr. H. said...

Our grandson only has one thing in mind when it comes to

Jessika said...

That looks lovely! I love your little helper. Our local instruction is to plant the potatoes when the first dandelions bloom. We use thick mats of straw to mulch around the plants and in between the rows.

Clayton said...

Came across your blog on a random search and really enjoy the pics. I have taken to using jute back carpeting where suitable as once it is there for a year it will lay down without help. And of course for the most part it does not decay as the fibers are poly in many cases. The jute eventually decays from sunlight. Thankfully we have not had to fence yet but net for birds in berry season.