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Posts Tagged ‘Potato’

Well, The weather has finally warmed up a bit from the May snowstorms and rains so I finally got all of my potatoes planted. I put together 6 more tubes/cages so I would be able to plant all of them. I planted the first variety a month ago, then it got cold for a weekend, I went to visit my mom and sister over Memorial weekend so finally last weekend, I was able to get my gardening on. I wanted to clean out an area that was on the east side of the greenhouse to put the new tubes. Digging up all that grass was tough!! But I got it all out, chicken wire laid on the ground (to keep the ground squirrels from digging into the tubes from underneath) and tubes staked in and wrapped. Then I put mulch on top of the exposed chicken wire. Wrapping the tubes in plastic helps keep the soil from drying out and, as I have discovered, makes a slick surface so small critters can’t climb the wire of the hardware cloth tubes.

The grassy area that needed to be cleaned.

The grassy area that needed to be cleaned.

End of day 1 digging grass

End of day 1 digging grass

Finished!!

Finished!!

I must admit that I am an over-achiever when it comes to potatoes. I planted 19 varieties total this year. That’s really too many. Next year, I’m scaling back on the potatoes (she says now). But if you are a gardener like me, you just want to try them all. Most of the potatoes I planted are considered short season, meaning they can be harvested in 60-80 days. That’s just about right for this elevation since I figure we have an average of 90 frost free days a year. Once they are ready, I can leave them in the tubes even after frost (but not freeze) which will help set the skins for storage.

In other veggie news…….this year, I did plant carrot seeds in three of the tubes (not with the potatoes) and they are starting to germinate. My parsnips overwintered, but I am not sure how they will taste. They might be rather bitter. I harvested the first round of greens from the greenhouse today and those will go in the salad for dinner. My peas that are planted in the walls o’ water are growing well. They have not been discovered by critters. And all my garlic is finally up. I’m looking forward to scapes on the garlic soon……..they are wonderful in stir-fry dishes.

Next weekend I’ll plant the tomatoes and herbs that I’ve started. Those will go in the greenhouse. I changed up my tomato varieties a bit this year, using determinate and cold-hardy/short season varieties. I have several different varieties of basil, which will help make marvelous marinara in September. I also want to try some broccoli rabe, rapini and a purple broccoli, but I have to figure out where to plant it. I’m glad the weather is (mostly) nice enough to be able to get out into the garden now.

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Last weekend we got almost 3 FEET of snow, starting Saturday evening and lasting through Monday morning. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen in the garden this weekend, but so far, it’s been good. The majority of the snow has melted, except on the north sides of buildings and really shaded areas. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to plant anything, either. But, the carrot seeds are starting to germinate, I saw one beet seedling poking up out of the soil, and no parsnip seed germination yet.

However, today was the day that the potatoes got planted, though. All 13 varieties. This year, I decided to do this a bit differently in that I chose mostly early to mid-season potatoes. The early season are 60-80 days to maturity, the mid-season are 80-100 days to maturity and I have one long season variety that matures in 100-130 days. I suspect that most of the potatoes I planted will be at the high end of their respective maturity range, just because we are at such a high elevation and we have about 90 frost-free days up here. All the potatoes that I planted had sprouts on them and I covered them with a generous amount of soil so they have a chance of poking their leaves out even if we get colder temps at night. I used the tubes to plant in that I tried last year. With the rodent population and other critter herbivory, I think this is definitely the way to get a good harvest.

The early season varieties are Masquerade, Red Pontiac, Early Ohio, Red Gold, and Purple Viking. The mid-season are Yellow Finn, Kennebec, Alby’s Gold, Colorado Rose, Sangre, Marris Piper and Desiree. The only long season variety that I planted is Nicola. All of the potatoes, except Masquerade, came from http://www.potatogarden.com/. The store link will tell you what is available, while the catalog link will provide information on how long to maturity as well as notes on taste, etc.

I’m looking forward to another successful potato season. I just wish I could figure out how to store some of them (not PVP protected varieties, however) over the winter to be able to use as seed for next year. I think the garage gets too cold to store over the winter, but I might try that just to see what happens.

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So today was spent evaluating the damage from the cool nights we have had this past week.  And by cool, I mean it’s getting into the low 30’s.  The potato tops were toasted this week so some harvesting was on the agenda today.  Not all of the potatoes were harvested, I’m hoping if I cut water to the potatoes, the skins will set and they will store a bit longer than freshly harvested.  I pulled up the Red Sangre, Russian Banana Fingerlings and Mountain Rose potatoes.  All together, it was probably close to 35-40 pounds of potatoes.  Since I know we cannot eat all of those potatoes, I have been providing one of our local restaurants (The Wandering Moose) with fresh potatoes for their menu.  It’s not every restaurant up here that can say they source local produce.  After harvesting, I pulled all the weeds and put some pine mulch on the part of the potato patch that was harvested.  All summer, I have been lamenting the fact that none of my Colorado Rose, Yukon Gold or Red McClure potatoes came up.  But it pays to weed the garden…….there are 7 Colorado Rose and Yukon Gold plants coming up and one Red McClure.  Now, I do know that it is quite late in the season for these to just be starting, but I am hoping that with the thick layer of mulch that was put down today, they can overwinter and produce next spring/summer.  Last weekend I harvested all the volunteer potatoes from the garlic/allium bed and had quite a haul from just the volunteers that had overwintered under the mulch.

Toasted potato tops

The tomatoes under the floating row cover were doing well, but with the cold nights, the tops of the tomatoes did get a bit nipped even under the row cover.   The row cover is not insulating, but rather protecting.  And it did protect the plants from total ruination.  I am hopeful that I will still be able to get some tomatoes off of several of the plants before Mother Nature puts her cold hand on them.  There are still quite a few flowers and last week when I checked, there has been some fruit set.  The fruit set is on the lower portions of the plants, so we’ll see if we can get them to ripen soon.

The bottom photo is of the potato patch after harvesting, weeding and mulching.

Tomato tops frostbit under the row cover

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