Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Potato plants

You may recall that after Grant's birthday party a few weeks ago. .we cut up our seed potatos so they could rest a bit before we put them in the ground. Jeremy's grandma said she let hers sit at least a week before planting them in the ground. I have since read that even letting them sit overnight is adequate. The reason for doing so is to allow the cut flesh to dry slightly which helps prevent the potato from molding in the ground.
We sliced regular looking potatos into pieces that contained 2 eyes. .or the divet that starts to grow horns if you let the potatoes sit too long before you eat them (please tell me that I am not the only whose potatoes grow horns!).  We left them open in containers and put them in the basement storage room to rest. 
I wanted to plant them around St Patricks day. .as my grandma always did. .but the 17th was a barren planting time according to the Farmer's almanac (I'm a believer in that!). So Sunday the 20th was the first good planting day. .and the only one that I had available to get into the garden.  The above photo shows the crusty potatoes and their little eyes starting to sprout.
This year we are trying a no-till gardening method. I have seen a number of articles over the last year that stresses the importance of the underground microbes, bacteria, and other life forms (earthworms, etc) that are exposed to sunlight, heat, and air every time you till.  Seems that this underground structure has to start over each time you disturb it.  I decided to see how it works.  The other plus is that, since much of my newspaper/straw mulching will continue to supress weeds. .much of our work is already done. .with the exception of throwing some new straw on top to reinforce. Hee Haw!!
So, after church and lunch. .with Camille resting peacefully in bed. .we trucked out to the garden. The big boys hoed some rows through the mulch where the onion rows of last season had been. .D confiscated my camera and took pictures. .LOTS of pictures. .and several of himself as he made shadows on the ground. .8 year olds!!
We planted 3 15-20 foot rows of the variety Red Pontiac. .
3 15-20 foot rows of the variety Red Norland. .
and a couple rows of Yukon Gold. .
in that order from north to south (for my own memory. .since I don't use row markers. .found out a long time ago that they just get pulled up and used as weapons)
We spaced them in the row about 1 1/2-2 feet apart in rows 2 feet apart with their little eyes pointing skyward. Covered them up with dirt and straw (I also learned in my research that they will grow well just using straw and no soil). Now we wait for them to grow plants within the next 2-3 weeks.  After the plants get about 6 inches tall, we will mound more dirt around the base of the plant. .creating more space for the potatoes to form.  This is our first try with potatoes. .so we are excited about growing something new!! Grant and I also enjoyed trying to map out our other summer crops in our garden space.  Grant seems to be a child of my own heart. .he kept saying that the spot just needed to be a little bigger so we could grow more. .if any of you have seen my veggie garden space. .it is HUGE!! The first thing that boy will learn is space management!! It will be fun to have a gardening partner this year!!
While he cleaned up old tomato and pepper plants, I planted some grasses around the new sidewalk, as well as some cannas and gladiola bulbs. .also both new specimen around these gardens!! And my gardening highlight of the day??? I found my RHUBARB plants!! A gentleman in town had bought 3 rhubarb plants for me last year. It's a bit of a joke. .as many years ago at our church soup supper I fixed a rhubarb pie with some rhubarb that I had in my freezer from Grandma Pat.  Everyone raved over it, since very few people make rhubarb pie. .and many people grew up eating it!! The next year I didn't fix that type of pie and he was SORELY disappointed.  Since I am a first born pleaser-personalitied person. .I have been fixing rhubarb pie every year since then!! I was so tickled that he bought me some plants to make sure that I always had a supply!! It appeared to be dead by August. .and I wasn't sure why.  But as I was checking my Virginia creeper vine that I stuck near one of the rhubarb holes last fall. .I was SUPER EXCITED to find rhubarb leaves next to the creeper. .and lo and behold. .rhubarb leaves coming from the other two "dead" plants!! What a great surprise!!  Welcome spring!! Have a great week!


  1. Potatoes ROCK!! They are so satisfying to grow. My boys LOVE digging them up.
    I'm loving having a very involved family too this year as far as the garden goes. Hope they are still excited around mid-summer! ;)

  2. You have great space for potatoes. (mine sprout horns too in the kitchen) I hope you harvest tons!
    Love that the man brought you rhubbarb plants. That's what's great about small towns.
    How handy to have a gardening photographer shadows included.

  3. I enjoyed hearing about your garden planting. :) When I was a kid, we tried the thing with just covering the potatoes with straw, and it worked really well. I enjoyed hearing about the rhubarb!

  4. We just planted our potatoes too! Several rows of Kenebec...that's what my dad always grows. I follow the almanac too. :) The no till method is interesting - I want to learn more about that. And I didn't know you could just cover potatoes with straw, either. THanks for the info!

  5. Oh my gosh! That brings back memories of growing up in Missouri. Ha ha I think It's go cool that you advise the Farmers Almanac. You go girl! Wish I was there to help. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I would like to grow potatoes too. Where did you get your potatoes that you just planted? Did you order them from a catalog?

    Glad to hear that your rhubarb plants are coming up!! I just checked mine and was so happy to see 2 plants coming up!!! I made sure to tell my husband to not till or pull up any weeds in my garden...because I am afraid he will mistake my rhubarb for a weed and then I will die!! This is my first year for rhubarb. A friend of mine had a lot of rhubarb plants that she doesn't do anything with and she gave me 2 or 3 plants at the end of the season from her garden.

    I have a similar story about rhubarb. I made a rhubarb cake for work last year...and everyone LOVED it. I was so pleased with the recipe. By the way...I posted it on my blog last spring. I'm sure I will be mentioning again on my blog when it comes time for me to make it again.

  7. I'm always too impatient to wait to plant my potatoes after cutting them. I thought it was overnight. I'm glad I found this post, because I cut my two potatoes a few days ago, but didn't get them planted because it's been so cold.

    I had to laugh, because the way I mark rows is to grab a nearby stick, and place it in the ground. I guess it's just the corners I mark. Sometimes the stick stays there, sometimes it doesn't.

  8. Oh, and I hope your rhubarb does well. My problem is that I'm very busy with other garden activities about the time the rhubarb is ready. I don't always get it cooked. I did freeze some this year, but haven't used it. I better do it pretty soon.

  9. I mark rows the same way corner Gardener sue does.

    The potatoes look like they're going to be great, and I love that you've got your son involved in the garden. None of my kids are really interested beyond seed-planting.