Thursday, May 9, 2013

2nd Tilling & Planting the Potatoes

Tonight after work I went down to the big garden with Dad. He drove the tractor and we gave the garden its second tilling of the year. I am amazed at how little moisture there is in the soil. For much of the tilling tonight, there was a small cloud of dust following in the wake of the tractor. At this point my plan is to see what the weekend weather brings. If the rainfall is minimal  I think one more tilling later next week should finish it up for the year. What a difference a year makes!

After we got back from the garden, I opened up the box of potatoes that had arrived in the mail from The Maine Potato Lady. I learned about this amazing company from Susy over at Chiots Run. It is a wonderful source for organic seed potatoes. After reading over the extensive catalog on-line, I finally chose two different varieties to try for the first time. Here are the catalog descriptions:

"Nicola" generous yields of huge potatoes, all golden-skinned and golden- fleshed. Eating them was another delight! Home fries with onions, salt, and butter were scrumptious. Consistency makes it a good choice for the market grower. Developed in the Netherlands and Germany. Immune to viruses; resistant to blight. 

"Dark Red Norland" easy to grow with consistent yields of beautiful round red tubers from large to small. Steam or boil some of these babies for those first early meals straight from the garden. Resistant to scab; fair storage. Purplish-blue flowers on a medium-sized plant.

I haven't grown potatoes for many years, so this feels a bit like trying it for the first time. Since the soil down in the big garden is straight clay, I decided to give grow bags a try this year. Reading the recommendations on the provided information sheet, I cut each potato to the size of " a hen's egg". As you can see in the above picture, the "Dark Red Norland" potatoes have nice sized sprouts already forming all over the tuber.

The instructions said to plant each potato one foot apart in a row. Since I was using the grow bags, I decided to experiment. I planted 4 in one bag and three in another. It will be interesting to compare yields when I harvest them. 

Next I cut up the "Nicola" tubers. Look how beautiful that golden yellow flesh is.

The potatoes went into a slight smaller size grow bag. Once again I decided to experiment so I planted three in one bag and two in another.

As I put my seedling trays away in the greenhouse for the night, I discovered that I had my first germination in the second tray that I seed on Sunday. My first "Black Watchman" plant hollyhock is up. This really surprises me because the seed packet said that germination would take between 7-14 days. Nothing like hot weather to make it happen in only 4 days! I also found that four of my six "Bright Bandolier" sunflowers have germinated. They are all still sporting their black seed head but are clearly up. What a nice surprise.

1 comment:

icebear said...

thea color on the Nicola potato is gorgeous, reminds me of golden beets, i may have to try them next year. Maine Potato Lady tends to sell out of seed before i can order.