The Responsible Survivialist


Our 2010 Garden

The Trials and Tribulations of Our First BIG Garden
(Will be updated during the year.)

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03/01 – Hacienda Trammel:
Here’s where I live, one side of a two bedroom duplex in Saint Louis, Missouri, deep in the Heartland of the good old US of A.

My home

Well actually, I live in the one on the right but in a month or two I hope I will be relocating to the one on the left. Joyce, my 80 something neighbor is moving out. She’s buying a home with one of her daughters. She’ll be missed since she was a good neighbor who tended to cook way too much. Seems like once or twice a month she was popping her head out of her door when I got home from work and offering me something to eat.

The big reason I plan on moving is her side, which is on the South, and our duplex faces East, is that her side gets plenty of Sun. My side not as much.

An additional negative, I get a lot of foot traffic through my yard. I sit at the center of our block and a previous tenant of the house behind me, her kids tore down the fence between us. So the kids on the block, of which there are many, cut through my yard to get to the next street.

(insert picture of my side)

I am pretty sure my landlord will let me move. He’s a old friend of the family. Either way he has said that if he doesn’t let me, he’ll put it into the contract of any new tenant who rents that side, that I still get to garden it.

Hehe, I had already put several of my raised beds in before I asked him about the move. I had already asked him if Joyce and I could put in a garden.

We’ll see…

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03/05 – What We’re Planting:
Here is a list of the seeds I’m going to plant this year. I went with a wider variety of vegetables than I would normally plant because I have a bigger area this year. Except where noted, I purchased them from Seed Savers, which is a great place to get heirloom seeds.

Beans, Climbing French: A green bean which in the 1930s this was reportedly the most widely grown climbing French bean in England, according to The Beans of New York. Lilac flowers, 4-7″ stringless pods. Excellent fresh eating qualities.

Carrots, Paris Market: Highly sought after by gourmet restaurants. A great seller at markets. Early red-orange carrots, 1-2” in diameter, uniform, and very sweet. Does well in shallow or stony soil. Can also be grown in containers.

ADDED 05/03: These were out of stock. I ended up buying some “Short n’ Sweet” carrots from Burpee, at Home Depot. These are 4 inch roots which do well in heavy soil. Unfortunately they are hybrids so I won’t be able to get seeds from them in the Fall.

ADDED 05/08: Seed Savers had my Paris Market carrot seeds back in stock this week. I received a packet from them so looks like we have two types of carrots to plant.

Broccoli, DeCicco: Introduced to U.S. gardeners in 1890. Compact 2-3′ plant produces 4″ central head. After the central head is cut, many side shoots follow. Very early, great for freezing.

Corn, Reid’s Yellow Dent: One of the most productive, hardy corns ever developed, this variety was a prize winner at the 1893 World’s Fair. Developed by James L. Reid in northern Illinois from a Gordon Hopkins cross his father brought from Brown County, Ohio, in 1846. Vigorous 6-7’ plants with 9-10” well-filled ears. Very dependable and adaptive variety.

Cucumber, Double Yield: Developed by a home gardener and introduced in 1924 by Joseph Harris & Co. of Coldwater, New York. In the words of the introducer, “The remarkable thing about this new cucumber is its wonderful productiveness. For every pickle that is cut off, two or three more are produced.” Very productive pickling type. Slender fruits are 5-6″ long by 2″ in diameter, symmetrical, smooth and uniform.

Lettuce, Grandpa Admire’s: Bronze-tinged leaf lettuce that forms large loose heads. Mild fine flavor, slow to bolt, tender longer than most, even in extreme heat. George Admire was a Civil War veteran born in 1822. In 1977, 90 year-old Cloe Lowrey, Grandpa Admire’s granddaughter, gave this seed to SSE.

Okra, Hill Country Red: Beautiful 5-6’ red-stemmed plants do well in summer heat and drought. Fat 3” pods are green with red tips and ribs. Full of the good okra flavor popular in the hill regions of the south. An excellent pickling variety.

Pepper, Candlelight: Ornamental 12-16″ plants completely covered with thin tapered fruits 1″ long by ¼” wide. Fruits are borne in clusters of 4-6, ripen from green to yellow to orange to brilliant red. Nice for containers. 2 on the Pepper scale for hotness.

Spinach, Strawberry: Also referred to as Strawberry Blite, grown in Europe for centuries. Very showy compact 16-18″ plants are grown for their nutritious triangular toothed leaves and tender shoots, used in salads or steamed. Shiny red mulberry-like fruits are edible, can be added to salads or used for dying.

Squash, Cheyenne Bush: Extremely early bush pumpkin especially useful for small gardens where space is at a premium, or in large pots. Compact bush habit, high yields of 5-8 pound pumpkins. Fair table quality.

Tomato, Siberian: Dwarf sprawling plants with very early sets of fruits. Introduced through SSE in 1984 by Will Bonsall, originally from the Lowden Collection. Egg-shaped 2-3″ fruits, good strong flavor.

Tomato, Tommy Toe: Extremely vigorous plant yields hundreds of 1″ apricot-sized fruits, produces non-stop over an extended season. Superb flavor, hard to beat! Won an Australian taste test with 100 other varieties.

Tomato, Long Tom: Family heirloom originally sent to Ben Quisenberry by a friend living in Pennsylvania. Fruits are 5″ long by 2″ in diameter. Shoulders hardly ever crack. Fruits have very few seeds, firm, meaty flesh with nice sweet flavor. Superior paste tomato that is flavorful and also ideal for salads.

Watermelon, Small Shining: Old traditional Russian variety with round 10-12″ fruits, very dark green rind and sweet red flesh. Introduced to American gardeners by SSE in 1991. Great little ice-box melon, holds for several weeks after picking. Early maturing variety that will ripen successfully in the middle territories of the former Soviet Union and also is well suited for northern U.S. gardens and high altitudes.

In addition to the vegetables, we’re adding a few non-traditional plants as experiments. They are:

Sunflower, Mongolian Giant: One of the largest-seeded varieties available to gardeners, seeds up to 1½” long. Plants can grow 12-14′ tall with large yellow heads reaching 16-18″ across!

Stevia: Nature’s sweet secret. Used in Japan since the 1970s when the safety of artificial sweeteners came into question. Stevia extracts are 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, extremely low in calories and all natural. The FDA has approved its use as a dietary supplement. Sub-tropical plant.

Moringa: A plant from India, whose leaves can be eaten raw (tastes like spinach) and whose root can be ground up to make a horseradish like sauce. Purchased this from EchoNet.

Also from EchoNet, I thought I’d try a second bean. Their description is rather intriguing. A green bean 36 inches long…Oh My!!!

Yardlong Bean (or Asparagus Bean): When the weather is too hot and humid for green beans to grow, these beans thrive. Pods are cooked like green beans when they are about 8-10 inches long. (We have never really seen a pod that was a yard long, but they easily reach about 20 inches!) They are actually a cowpea (the same species as black-eyed peas) that has been developed especially for its pods. If the pods become too mature to eat, the seeds can be dried on the vine and cooked like black-eyed peas.

Now I can’t wait to get them ordered…

ADDED 05/08: Picked up some Asparagus, and Rosemary at the nursery this week, some Dill at Wal-Mart.

I also bought a seed package of Nasturtium which is a flower. The blooms are ediable and it is a companion plant for the tomatoes.

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03/15 – First Plants – Wild Onion:
As I mentioned in This Recent Post, I happened across some luck. My yard sprouted wild onions just in the last few weeks. Since I like green onions, but not the bigger white variety, I thought this would be a good addition to the garden.

wild onions in a pot

03/30 – Seeds Are Here:
My package from Seed Savers just came in. I feel like a new father…lol. The only downer, my carrots were sold out…damned.

04/11 – A Productive Week In The Garden:
We had a very good week in getting this year’s garden ready.

Raised Beds:
I decided on using raised beds early, primarily because we use outside lawn care and without some sort of border, any young plants might easily be mistake for weeds and wacked down with the weed eater. Happens at my sisters all the time. She has ornamental plants along her driveway that the neighbor’s lawn guy mows over every time he comes by.

At first I planned on using wood to build them but as I did some research I found that most people don’t recommend using pressure treated wood in vegetable gardens due to the possibility of chemical leeching out and into the plants. Untreated wood can warp due to moisture and Missouri gets alot of that in the form of rain during the Spring, which means I would be replacing a portion of my beds next year.

Luckily on a trip to Home Depot last month to replace the wall of my sister’s shower, I ran across a landscaping stone called a “medium weight block“. It’s concrete and the same dimensions as a regular cinder block, but only half as thick at 4”. Priced a little less than a dollar a piece, the math works out to less than $20 for a 2×10′ bed. Very reasonable price wise. Wood would have run twice that.

Here is the first bed in the ground.

first raised bed in the ground

Along with being inert and no problems with chemicals, these blocks offer a couple of additional advantages.

First they are heavy and don’t require staking or mortaring together. You can place them in the ground a couple of inches deep, as I did and then just fill the bed. They have enough mass not to move outward.

Secondly, as Bierbrauer over on the Zombie Squad Forum suggested, you can use the holes in the blocks for planting too.

This is helpful in several ways.

Many of the vegetables I’m planting need bees or other wild pollinators. Planting flowers in the border attracts them to the garden. and it looks good too.

Also, having a plantable border allows you to use companion plants for natural pest control. This is a technique used for centuries where certain plants attract the insects which can damage your vegetables. Planting them in close proximity means the companion plant suffers, not your crop.

A nice thing is, they are much more attractive than bare ground gardening. A plus considering I’m a renter. Perhaps like a few our the readership. True I have a very good relationship with my landlord. He is a long time friend of the family. Still a landlord will be mindful of anything you do that might affect the rentablity of his property.

BTW that’s my potato bin in the background.

Potato Bin:
One of the things I’m trying this year is the vertical potato planting method that Sinfonian used on his garden HERE.

Most people plant potatoes in their garden and then wait for the roots at season’s end. Vertical bin growing, like Sinfonian used takes a different approach. When each plant grows to 4-6 inches, you bury all but the top inch in dirt. This kills the leaves and causes the shaft to instead form roots, which then produce tubers.

Keep at it until the season ends and the plant dies. Then lay down a tarp, unscrew the boards on the front and carefully pull your potatoes from the dirt. Store and eat later.

potato bin

As you can see in the construction of the bin. The boards are screwed to the vertical posts. Each time the plants grow taller than the next board, you bury them. With luck you will get to the top of the vertical posts before the season ends.

I’ve gone with a rather modest 2×4′ bin since it is the first year I’m trying this. If its successful I may add one or two more bins with different species. Potatoes are subject to a blight which can carry over to the next year’s crop, if you are re-seeding from the previous harvest.

Here’s the second bed in:

second raised bed

It’s three feet longer than the first, and is where I plan to plant my leafy stuff. Lettuce, broccoli and spinach with okra and cucumbers growing up a trestle on the wall. All totaled I plan for five beds. One more along the fence line, toward us in camera, then two on the cross fence at the gate.

The planters you see in the bed is because we are forecasted for a thunder storm tomorrow and my Moringa seedlings are still sensitive to alot of wind. I put them there for some protection. I’ll move them back out when the storm passes. They grew a bit lanky and tall at the start because I didn’t providing enough light when they germinated.

Moringa Update:
I lost three of the seedlings this week when one of the two lights dropped down and laid on them for a few hours. Didn’t see it until I got home. I’m going to reseed those.

moringa seedlings at two weeks

The four late sprouting seedlings, now with two lights on them, are more bushy and lower to the ground. Those are the four to the left. The first three to sprout, those on the right, I put into a single pot together and will harvest them early to try Moringa horseradish sauce. Of the original 11, now nine, I’ve given four away to a friend and to Joyce, my neighbor. Her seedlings are in the two round pots you see in the earlier photo.

First Seeds Started:
I got the first batch of seeds started in the starter sets this week. I wanted to get the corn and the sunflowers started especially, since they need to be 4-6″ before I start the beans. Remember, the “Three Sisters” method uses a three step seeding, where first the corn goes in, then two weeks later the beans, then two more, the squash.

first batch of seeds in starters

The corn is in the peat pots in the middle, 18 total which will give me 4-5 per mound. That was all the pots I had available. I may interspace the seedlings with fresh seeds once I plant them. that would give me two teers of corn at different heights and maturing dates.

I also started the Steva in the other six peat pots to the right. Since they will be going into hanging baskets I put 10-12 seeds in each pot, spaced around. The seeds are incredibly tiny. That will make it interesting in the Fall when I go to harvest seeds. Seed Savers does put the instruction for how to harvest, on the back of each seed packet.

In addition, I started the three tomato varieties, the peppers, and the greens going into the wall bed, which is the lettuce, the spinach, the broccoli, the orka and the cucumbers. I seeded ten cells for each because I expect for a few not to sprout. 2-3 out of 10 is about what I’ve gotten in the past from commercial packets I bought at Home Depot. Hopefully these will have a better rate.

By the way, check out the size of the sunflower seeds!

big sunflowers

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04/19 – Seeds
I posted a How-To on building raised beds this week HERE.

Here’s a picture of the seeds. I’ve never planted cucumbers before but WOW those seeds sprout quickly and grow like they are on steroids.

cucumber seedlings three days

These are almost 2 inches high after only 4 days, the first 2 with no light on them. For some reason the peppers, spinach and okra haven’t come up yet. The tomatoes are all sprouting, as are the lettuce and broccoli.

I might have over planted. Where my commercially bought seeds had a good portion not germinate, the ones from Seed Savers are great. Almost every one so far has sprouted. I’m going to have to build some apartment pots for some of my friends, say tomatoes, peppers and such and give them as late Spring gifts. I’d hate to just kill the seedlings that have come up and are extra.

I’m also going to have to watch the squirrels and rabbits I think. I left the seed starter kits out while I went to lunch and when I came back there was a squirrel in the yard. I found out the furry pest had eaten one corn seedling, and nibbled on the leaves of two sunflower seedlings. The sunflowers are ok enough to leave but the corn is toast. I’ll have to consider fencing around the beds now. Having the wild life eat a few leaves when I have full size plants is ok with me, giving something back to Nature, but having them eat my entire garden while its small beginning plants is not.

The next two days, Wednesday and Thursday, I work. If it doesn’t rain on Friday, which the weather forecast predicts, then I’ll post more pictures when I finish up.

04/26 – Potatoes Coming Up
I was a bit worried about my potatoes. I had planted them and for a few weeks now, nothing. You can imagine my happiness when I went out today and discovered this

first potato

Looking carefully around I discovered a few more, just poking their first leaves to the sky. Guess there was an upside to the big down pour over the weekend.

Go girls!!!

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05/03 – Some good, Some Bad
I had both good stuff and bad stuff happen this past week in this year’s garden, though eternal optimist I am, the good out weighed the bad.

Stevia, Lettuce and Broccoli – FAIL:
I lost the entire first crop of Stevia. It was my fault too, I had put the six peat pots under a new lamp to get some heat and higher light to them. I didn’t realize the heat would dry the pots as fast as it did. Lost all but one plant and its not doing well. Probably going to lose it too.

Since I seeded each peat pot heavily with 10-12 seeds each, with the intention of planting them in individual hanging baskets, I only had 10 seeds left in the original packet. I’ve started those individually in my seed starter kits. I hope they come up because of all the plants I’m growing this year, this one had my real interest. Sugar will be at a premium as things get tight in coming days and I definitely have a sweet tooth. A plant that a few leaves from can sweeten your morning chicory coffee will be worth its weight in gold.

Or some other important bargaining item…

I also made the decision to uproot my lettuce and broccoli sprouts and start fresh. Both plants were early sprouters and suffered from too little light, which made them very long and spindly. I could have tried burying them deep but last week I was still another week until I had their bed ready, so I decided to cut my loss there and reseed them as well.

The good news for my new seeds is I picked up a 4 foot two bulb florescent lamp and a couple of grow bulbs. I now have the seed starters about 2 inches from them and they seem to be doing better this time.

While I was at the hardware store getting the lamp, I also picked up a couple of packets of carrots. Since Seed Saver was out of the “Paris Market” carrot seeds, I ended up just going with some “Short n’ Sweet” carrots from Burpee for this year. I won’t be able to harvest seeds to carry over to next year, since they are hybrids though.

It will remind me to order early next year.

Corn and Sunflowers in the Ground:
I decided to trim back my sunflowers to just the six that were doing the best. That is I kept the shortest ones since there too the early sprouters got lanky from insufficient light. The corn did an amazing job of sprouting. With the one the squirrel ate it left me with 15, which I divided in half for the mounds. Three sunflowers and seven and eight corn respectively.

Here are the two mounds in their bed. The lilies at each end are coming out tomorrow for re-planting at my neighbor Joyce’s new house.

corn in the ground

Here’s a close up:

corn in the ground closeup

You can see I made a small berm of a few inches around the plants. This is to help when I water and protect them if I get a bed flooding like I did in the cucumber bed. I dug out to about 12 inches deep then put in 6 inches of compost, then topped that with the Mel’s Mix I make (50% compost, 25% vermiculite, 25% peat moss). It holds water well and is nice and lopse to promote root growth.

The sunflowers were a bit limp the first day or two, but now they are doing well. The squirrel hasn’t bothered them that I could tell, but to be safe I sprinkled a heavy dusting of red pepper around the top of the berm which is supposed to keep the bugger away.

Moringa – Nipped in the Stem
The squirrel (or something else) killed two of the moringa plants. I found them bitten through at the base. I wouldn’t have been as pissed but what ever got them, didn’t even eat them.

I’m going to put chicken wire cages around them tomorrow, and probably re-seed one seed in each of those two pots. The other plant in them is still a bit small and I’m worried their extended time in the newspaper starters may have root bound them. That’s a condition where the roots of a plant get tightly wound up in the container. I did loosen them some when I planted them but maybe not enough.

On the up side, the other two are doing very well and growing.

Next Batch of Seeds – Melons and Beans, and More Beans:
I started my beans, the melon and the pumpkin last week in peat pots. Their seeds were larger than what could be started in the seed starter kits so I picked up some peat pots at the store, with the lamp.

Man, do they sprout!

second batch of seeds

The three tall ones in the right corner are “Yardlong Beans” which I purchased through Echo Books. They are the people I got my moringa seeds from and active in promoting agriculture in the Third World.

From their site:
When the weather is too hot and humid for green beans to grow, these beans thrive. Pods are cooked like green beans when they are about 8-10 inches long. (We have never really seen a pod that was a yard long, but they easily reach about 20 inches!) They are actually a cowpea (the same species as black-eyed peas) that has been developed especially for its pods. If the pods become too mature to eat, the seeds can be dried on the vine and cooked like black-eyed peas. Vines definitely require a trellis.

St.Louis can have some very hot and humid weather, so the fact these plants like that is a plus. I have some plans for some shading if it looks like we’re in for a hot, hot Summer. The conditions seems ripe for it too. El Nino is back in the Pacific and the last time it was this strong was in 1998 which was the hottest Summer on record. Given that the place I work has no air conditioning, that almost guarantees a hot Summer here.

Here’s a close up of them. That’s less than one week’s worth of growth too!

yard long bean sprouts

Potatoes – The Best For Last!
After a slow start, my potatoes are doing just great.

potatoes third week

Its hard to tell in the picture but there are another dozen or more small sprouts coming up too.

Now if you don’t want to go to the whole trouble of a bin like I have, check out Kate’s latest post at Living The Frugal Life. She does her potatoes in 5 gallon buckets. She also has some interesting thoughts on bin versus bucket growing that you should read if you plan on doing potatoes this year.

By the way, here’s that first plant that sprouted I talked about last week. A big difference a bit of time makes.

hulk potato

Maybe Bruce Banner has been slipping into my garden and spraying green radioactive growth juice on them…LOL.

Tomorrow:
The weather forecast is for sun tomorrow, so I hope to get a lot done:

– Lilies out of the bed
– Beans planted along the fence
– Melons and pumpkin planted
– Bed on the wall composted and prepped for planting
– Okra planted
– Cages made for the moringa plants, seeding in two planters

And if I get all of that, then I have to start on getting the plants out of Joyce’s flower bed on the fence out and put into planters for their move. That’s where the tomatoes and carrots are going. I have a few weeks before those are ready to plant so I’m not pressed for time on them. I also have to get the second Three Sisters bed built. Luckily this is a week I only work Wednesday and Thursday so I hope to report a lot of progress next week.

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05/08 – Another Good Week In The Garden
Had some good clear weather this week, though today was a bit windy and chilly. Since I had Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, I got a lot more done.

Potatoes Going Strong:
My potatoes continue to be the best growers in the garden. I can see why the Irish planted them so heavily. Here they are at the start of the week.

potatoes at three weeks

I’m going to have to hill them up with soil soon.

Salad Crop in the Ground:
The lettuce, spinach and broccolli are now planted in the raised bed against the house. I planted a bit more lettuce than the other two (15 vs. 9) but then I like salads and a staple of them is lettuce. And spinach but since I have my moringa plants to add to the spinach, I went lite there.

Or will have moringa when I re-seed after the squirrels cleaned me almost out. Just they wait, first good frost to kill worms come the Fall and I may be frying squirrel meat in the skillet.

(cue evil laugh)

lettuce in the ground

Against the wall are from left, okra, 5 plants, yardlong beans, 3 plants, cucumbers, 6 plants. I had originally planned to put the yardlongs on the fence in the second raised bed, but on further consideration, they are climbers and need room.

After talking with a friend, I think I’m going with a PVC trestle set up he’s used in the past. Instead of going straight up with it, I’m going to angle it out. Imagine a trestle with its base against the wall and the top part directly over the outside of the bed.

This does two things. First it lets the plant leaves on both side of the trestle get sun, if you get the angle right. Second, fruit from the plants hangs down through the trestle, making picking easier. We’ll see once I build it. For now, I can let them grow but by mid-week they will need stakes to climb on.

What I planted today only took about 2/3rds of the space. I have been leaning towards planting some asparagus this year but I am having real trouble finding seeds. Seed Savers doesn’t carry any, nor have I seen any at the various hardware stores.

I did find a seed packet at Lowes I thought was asparagus but after I got it home discovered it was my yardlong beans, which seem to also have the name asparagus beans. I found a picture of them…WOW!

yardlong beans ripe

A few of those will make a meal.

The nursery I get my compost from has asparagus starts, so I guess I will pick some up next time I’m there.

My new seeds came in from Seed Savers. I ordered more Stevia on Tuesday and saw that they had the Paris Market carrots back in stock. Ordered those and threw in a package of Dill, since I plan on pickling many of my cucumbers this Fall. The carrots will go into the front raised bed, with the second crop of tomatoes in about a month.

I also saw that my ramps have for the most part died off. There are a half dozen or so that have done well, and I think I’ll replant them at the end of the raised bed.

They are perennials, which means they should come back next year if they multiply. I just don’t know. From what I can find on the Web, people don’t cultivate them.

Call this a experiment in process.

First Tomato and Carrot Bed:
I cleaned out the backside flower bed today. A lot of weeds. Guess when I’m 80 something, I won’t be able to get down on my knees and weed either.

first tomato bed

I didn’t finish it because Joyce and her daughter Joy are going to take the Peone, the big flowering bush in the picture, next weekend. I’ll turn the soil and add the compost after its out. No problem because tomatoes don’t like cold temps and Joyce is predicting one more cold spell before the end of the month.

What do I know, at 80, I bet I’ll be able to predict the weather too…lol.

It doesn’t matter either way, the tomatoes are not ready to plant.

Lessons Learned:
I wait too long to transplant my sprouts. I realize that now. Take my tomatoes.

tomatoes replanted

They are way too long and skinny. I’ll give them a few weeks and if they don’t bulk out then I’ll pitch them. I’m about to start my “friends and family” crop of seeds and I now know to get them into bigger pots as soon as they pop out of the ground.

Also learned – Some plants are very quick off the line. The beans especially take no time to sprout. Though some take almost forever. The peppers and the spinach took several weeks to break the ground. Now if that’s because there wasn’t enough heat on them, I’m not sure. They are planted in my garden but I have a second crop seeded with a stronger light on them, so we’ll see if that makes a difference.

And finally – Don’t fall in love with every plant.

When I hilled up my potatoes at the end of the day, there were a few plants just breaking the soil. Hilling up meant they would now have another 3-4 inches of soil to climb through to reach the Sun.

Given the other plants that were already so tall, I doubt these late bloomers will make it. I almost deferred the hilling up to let these plants grow. Problem is, that will screw the early sprouter. If they get too big, they will “set” and I won’t see any potatoes from them. Better to sacrifice the slow ones that risk the harvest.

Here’s a pic of the bin hilled up.

potatoes hilled

I’m going to have to add the next board soon to the bin.

By the way, you can’t see it in the picture, but Joyce started a sweet potato and we planted it in the bin in the right front corner. Don’t know if it will do the same as the potatoes and grow more after hilling but what the heck, we have room to experiment, don’t we?

ADDED: I worked a few hours at my sister’s place, getting her flowers in while I used her washer and drier to do my laundry. She wanted to go by the nursery so I picked up my asparagus shoots, seven of them, which are now in the ground. Joyce said not to plant the ramps or they would get a cucumber taste, so I picked up some Bok Choy Tatsoi, which is another leafy plant like lettuce, used in salads and stir fry.

I also picked up some Nasturtium seeds to plant on the borders of my two tomato and carrot raised beds. They are a good companion plant for tomatoes. Did you know the blossoms are eatable? They can be stuffed with cream cheese and served on crackers. Won’t that be a sight for my next dinner party?

more to come…

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