Sunday, May 15, 2011

Getting On With It

There hasn't been a lot of activity in my kitchen garden of late. I've been in a bit of a holding pattern waiting for a 'good weather day'. Has it been two or three weeks since we last saw the sun? I mean the real sun, not just a sunny break. It's been so long, I can't remember!

At a certain point, you have to adapt and just get on with it. Put your rain coat on and get out into that rainy, foggy, cloudy, damp, chilly spring weather and get gardening.

I managed to finally plant the potatoes this weekend. I was waiting for the rainy weather to stop as I was afraid they would rot in the ground before they had a chance to grow. I decided to go ahead despite the dismal forecast. I have left a little stash of 'extras' behind just in case.

All my potatoes are from from Hope Seeds.

I planted the early potato variety, Onaway, exclusively in 'grow bags'. Last year I used empty potting soil bags with success, so I'm doing it again this year.  While not the most beautiful containers around, they do have certain advantages.   I'm saving money by re-purposing the bags and they are easy to move around in the garden to position them or re-position them as needed. I rolled down the sides of the bag, and as the potatoes grow, I will gradually roll them back up while adding more soil around the plant. Based on the yield from last year, I'm hoping one bag of potatoes will give me one meal's worth for my family of four.

The mid-season variety, Rose Gold and the late season Pink Fir Apple Fingerling potatoes have been planted in the 'potato tower' from last year. I have re-fashioned the tower by cutting it in half. I found that in the full tower, the potatoes didn't really grow 'up' as the 'urban legend' would have me believe. The excessive hilling didn't result in more potatoes and when I harvested, they were only found at the bottom of the box. Hopefully, by cutting the box in half, I will be able to get twice the yield.

I also made two new 'temporary' potato boxes which I am locating beside my compost bin. One box is made out of some old plywood I had lying around (the bottom came from the salad box I made two years ago- recycling in action!), and this has been planted with Rose Gold. To save money, I will fill the box with whatever cheap medium I have on hand - some potting soil, compost, seaweed, or partially decomposed leaves. I will probably paint the outside black so it isn't so ugly.  The other box is made out of cedar fencing material. I have planted the fingerling potatoes here, and since the box is low to the ground, have covered it with black plastic netting to deter the cats. When it is time to add more soil, I will stack another box on top.
My tomato and other seedlings are slowly being introduced to the outdoors. The peppers and tomatoes certainly don't like the cooler temperatures. I have been hardening off very slowly this year, but even still have noticed some signs of stress like curled up and droopy leaves. Luckily I grew lots of 'extras' just in case.
The wintersown vegetables I set outside at the beginning of March are ready to be planted- if I can find room.  The Sucrine romaine and thyme have gone into their containers and look like they are doing well. 
The Swiss Chard, Green Onion, and Kale are waiting for a container of their own.
The only plants that didn't do that well were the flowers. The marigolds barely sprouted, while the Cosmos and Calendula are still very small.


Gardeningbren said...

I must admit..your description of your garden sounds a lot like mine..our weather has been so poor in terms of sunshine, here in Nova Scotia(

Looking on the bright side..your potato ideas have inspired, and will use poly feed bags we have to try a few more varieties. Thanks for that.

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