Sunday, April 18, 2010

One of Those Days

First off, let me say that if you are a returning visitor, you may notice a few slight changes to my blog layout. I was frustrated with how narrow the posts section was and as a result, spent way to much time trying to give the page a mini-makeover. I only made a few subtle changes, but hopefully they will make a positive difference!

Today was one of those days when everything seemed to go wrong. I hit snooze too many times. I spent too much time in the garden center - and ended up with a few items more than what I went in for (although this is typical). I got stuck in traffic on Storrow Drive, a road that is difficult enough to let a single police car through when needed, let alone two firetrucks and an ambulance. Showing my ignorance to current Red Sox news, I found out that they had to finish Saturday night's game today at 1:30 - just when I was trying to find a parking spot. It rained most of the day. Then it was sunny. Then it poured. Then the sun came out - you get the picture...

The good news however, is that despite the weather, I was able to get a lot accomplished. My primary goal was to plant my potatoes and assemble my potato box.

This is my potato box, modeled after the Seattle Times article. For Christmas, I asked my father to build one for me. He followed the instructions perfectly, and even pre-drilled and numbered the boards for me (as you can see above). Thanks Dad! The box's design is supposed to maximize your yield and also make it easy to both, mound and harvest. Potatoes are relatively easy to grow but unique in that as the plants grow, you continue to cover them with soil. People have used buckets, trash cans, bags, or directly sow them into the ground. You just need to watch out because if the growing potatoes are exposed to sunlight they will turn green. Once the foliage dies and turns brown, it's time to harvest! My harvesting plan is to wait until they are mature, but I am curious about the 'new potatoes' so I may have to pick one or two to see how they are.

I was very excited to finally get the box up. I placed it in a sunny spot in my "extension" area. I left two of the sides together, but may take some of the boards down to provide more light to the growing spuds. I have mentioned the potato box a few times. I planted 5 Bintje potatoes (totalling 9.5 oz). We will see how much these yield in a few months! Each of the potatoes had started sprouting in at least one 'eye.' I added in a little vermiculite to help keep the soil light and to help with water retention. Sinfonian is someone else who has tried the potato box method and has some good tips and photos!

Today I also planted two herbs (rosemary & thyme), 6 strawberry plants and 15 freesia bulbs - that I picked up today at the garden center! I already used some of the rosemary for dinner - with [store bought] red potatoes and homemade rosemary flatbread. Yum!!

I worked on finalizing my extension area design, but am waiting until it is actually finished for the big "reveal." I planted another variety of carrot (Danvers) next to the garlic. Until now, all my carrot varieties have been short, so I am excited to get full-size carrots!!

In planning my corn planting I read more about corn pollination. Based on the remaining space I have & the space corn needs (at least four rows are recommended), I will only be able to fit one of my two varieties. This means that I will have to choose which one to try - the popcorn or the sweet - OR - plant the other variety along the backside of my plot, which gets overrun by the wild roses & vines. Decisions, decisions! If I have to choose one variety, I am leaning toward the popping corn.

Tomorrow is Patriot's Day, a Massachusetts holiday to commemorate the anniversary of the start of the American Revolution at the battles of Lexington & Concord. It is also of course, Marathon Monday as the 114th Boston Marathon takes place!!


. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Very impressive garden!

Leslie said...

A hint on the potato box, Liz. I have found that soil that is too fertile tends to yield lots of foliage but no spuds. So as you add dirt, make it dirt, not some extra enriched soil. Also, you will find that you can manage the Colorado Potato Beetles by picking them off and and dropping them in a jar of soapy water. You really do not need to use Bt. Check under the leaves for orange seed cases.

alizardinthegarden said...

Thanks for the tip Leslie! The "fertile soil" does worry me a bit as I used a variety of compost that was available for free and other potting soils. The box definitely takes a lot of dirt. In my first year, if I get more than I started out with (9oz), than I will be happy!! I will definitely keep your advice in mind next year!