Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Growing Potatoes

I have finally gotten everything planted except the potatoes and tobacco seedlings. I have not planted the potatoes yet because I have been undecided about growing them this year. This is the potato capital of Canada and we have friends with a huge potato farm. These friends have let us pick up potatoes off the ground after the machines have harvested them in the past, also, 50 lb bags of potatoes are so cheap in the fall here. It is not really worth planting them.

The only reason I am considering it is because I want them to make dog food next year and I like the red ones. Most of what is grown around here are white commercial potatoes. Its not the same and they are not nearly as good as homegrown red ones with our own chicken manure. So, all things considered, I am thinking about planting some red ones this week. My father in law assures me that it is not too late to plant them now and I have the room and can make the time for it now that everything else is in the ground and it rained last night. This constant hand watering and sprinkler moving has been killing me! Well, its been taking all of my time, anyway.

I want to plant potatoes in trenches lined with cardboard and covered with thick mulch instead of soil. Since the potatoes grow above the seed potato, they will grow onto the cardboard in the trench. You can also just lay them in the trench on the soil and cover with mulch and still have fairly clean potatoes without any digging. The cardboard is optional.

Thus we will have fairly clean potatoes without any digging. The digging is work, yes, but it also results in a lot of large potatoes cut in half or stabbed. This is what happens when I dig them, anyway. I don't seem to be very good at it :-(

If the trench is covered with straw, we can just lift the mulch to see how the potatoes are progressing or to pick up a few little ones to eat.

I think I may be planting potatoes in this manner this week, perhaps with the cardboard, perhaps without it. Writing this blog has helped me make up my mind. I will let you know how the cardboard/mulch plan works out. I do have a small square bale of old hay I can use for that and some fall leaves I can cut up and add to it.

Another reason to plant potatoes is for the flowers. I like potato flowers in a cut arrangement. They are very pretty and people don't seem to recognise them. Everyone asks what they are and seem quite surprised when I tell them that they are potato flowers. I wonder if I can make a gallon of potato flower wine?

I am still a bit undecided. I might look at the work I already have to do in weeding and harvesting and decide not to plant potatoes this year. I keep changing my mind. That's a woman's perogative, isn't it?


The Japanese Redneck said...

Dragging around 100's of feet of hose is a pain. Done it and now only plant stuff on my hill that's drought resistant.

Wow, homemade dog food - we don't have enough land or time to do that with all our mutts.

Ruralrose said...

I absolutely adore potato flowers too. Purple potatoes have purple flowers reason enough to plant them. I too plant my potatoes in this manner and haul around 100s of feet of hose. I am thankful to have the water and you really can see how the plants are doing. Thistle and burdock are terrible here too, at least you can see them unlike the sneaky bindweed. I dug burdock roots to eat this spring, but just couldn't bring my self to cook them, lol. It is a little late to start tobacco. Do you think it is too late to start amaranth? Hope you are well, off to read what you have been up to . . . peace

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

It is not too late to start tobacco if you don't need them to go to seed. The tobacco leaves are what we use so they can be planted anytime. We will still get lots of leaves, just no seed. I plan to keep one plant in a big pot on the deck and bring it inside in the fall so it will go to seed. Otherwise we will just buy seed for next spring.

Unfortunately, the amaranth seed is the grain that you will need and it is late for planting them to get seed, but you can eat the plant in salads and so forth, even if it doesn't go to seed.

We got one very light rain yesterday. Not enough to wet the garden so I will be dragging around hose again for awhile now for the vegetables. It is suppose to rain Fri and Sat. I sure hope it does!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

It is the tobacco seedlings that I am planting, not seeds. I started them early indoors more than a month ago.

We grow a lot of food so it all has to be watered but it's well worth it! What we don't use ourselves we give to the Food Bank and Salvation Army Soup Kitchen.