Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Playing in the Garden Yesterday

I had two patches in the field garden that were still bare so in one I planted three more short rows of corn.  It's very close to my big planting of corn so I think it will be fine.

The other patch has pea trellises on either side of it so I put a hill of red kuri squash there.  I figure by the time the squash vines really take off, the peas will be done and I can pull out those vines to give the spquash room to roam.  One hill will be plenty because I only want a couple of red kuri plants this year.  Last year I planted way too many.  They produced prolifically and we ate squash about until it came out our ears, I gave as many away as folks would take and just last week tossed the last two into the compost pile even though they had only a slight bad spot or two on them.  (Even the chickens were tired of them because they'd had them regularly all winter.)  So this year I'm trying to be much more sensible and not plant so many.  (Me?  Sensible in the garden?  Ha.)

Yesterday I also hilled our four rows of potatoes for the first time this season.  I didn't get 100% germination on the seed potatoes I planted this year, but it's better than last year.  I wonder if part of the problem is that I've been using seed potatoes from the last year's crop for several years now.  Saves money but maybe I need to break down and purchase some new ones for next year.  You know, introduce some "new blood" into the potato patch.  (Yuck.  That doesn't even sound good.)


Above is one of the rows before hilling.


Same row after the hilling was done.  It's really weird when you think of it.  Just when the plants are starting to get big and tall, you go and cover them up with a bunch of dirt.  Then they emerge from the dirt and start to reach for the sky . . . and you do it to 'em again.  Poor plants.

I also got the pumpkin patch tilled up and ready for planting.  Even up here, the last full week in June is a smidge on the late side to be planting pumpkins, but our weather has just been too cool before this.  I'm crossing my fingers (along with a lot of other folks) for a long fall this year so the late started garden will have a chance to mature.


One thing our cool weather has been good for is salad greens.  We have never (ever, ever) had such flavorful lettuce, Swiss chard, kale or spinach.  We've been having a big salad once a day nearly every day for weeks now.  Can't beat that for a nutritious, healthy, flavorful meal.

I'm happy to report we are having some warm weather now, and I'm finally starting to see a growth spurt in the garden.  Except maybe for the pepper plants I transplanted to a cold frame covered bed on June 7th.  I'm pretty sure they are smaller now than when I set them out. 

P.S.  Don't forget to check out the quilt book give-a-way in yesterday's post.  Comments close tonight!   

17 comments:

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

I wish we had cooler weather, we are starting to peak in the high 90's then we will be moving into 100's. My garden won't produce during this time, I will either cover and keep items well watered or let them die off. Soon I will be planting for fall harvest.

Great hilling on those potatoes, have you ever tried using straw to cover the potatoes? I'm using tires and straw right now and they love it. Soon I will harvest both sweet and regular potatoes.

tpals said...

Remind me why we hill the potatoes please. I only do it once; that seems to be my limit for time available.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Plsnt an extra row or two of corn, then pick when it is still baby corn for salads. I was buying canned baby corn thinking it was a special variety of corn, nope just pick young.

Susan said...

Everything looks wonderful! I planted kuri squash last year because you did. And I have to say, it is my favorite so far - even though I only got three small squash. This year, I didn't think the seeds even germinated, so planted pumpkins in the same place. Yep. Now I have them growing together.

Carolyn said...

You know, the whole "hilling" of the potatoes is probably why I haven't really done them. It just seems too weird. I did, however, start some sweet potato slips (late, I know) in an old bucket, so I'll TRY to hill them up.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - I really prefer to grow taters in straw, and I've tried it time and time again. Unfortunately, time and time again (!), I consistently get about half the yield of potatoes as I do when I grow them the old-fashioned way . . . in dirt. :o(

Mama Pea said...

tpals - Well, I'm no expert, but it's my understanding that the potatoes grow off of the roots of the potato plants (via little life lines [umbilical cords?]). Hilling up the plants (covering the stems) enables more roots to grow from the (newly covered) stems and more potatoes to grow on the increased number of roots. The hilled up soil is also looser and therefore easier for new roots to grow in. Sounds feasible anyway, doesn't it??

I hill mine twice. By then the sides of the dirt are so steep that I can't get anymore dirt to stay up higher on the plants.

Mama Pea said...

Tombstone Livestock - Ya know, I've heard that before. But aren't those itty-bitty ears (on regular corn) just the white-ish inner part of the corn without any kernels formed yet?

Methinks I will be stealing some tiny ears of corn this year to check the situation out!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Patience, my dear, patience! (Funny thing for me to say since I have NO patience. Just ask my husband.)

I wish I could grow small red kuri squash! Mine are all the size of basketballs and to get some to eat, I have to then use the rest of the darn thing for pie or bars or something 'cause we get really tired trying to eat all of one squash as a veggie! (Ooops, I mean vegetable.)

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - So how the heck are you gonna hill up your sweet potatoes in a bucket??!

Ruth Dixon said...

I can finally read blogs again (my blogger was being weird). I finally just finished up the garden by sticking stuff in willy nilly. Been hilling my volunteer potatoes. We didn't plant any, but obviously missed picking a few last year. Love your pics, missed you!

Freedom Acres Farm said...

Your garden looks just spiffy! Can't beat a ton of salad greens can ya? We hill our potatoes twice a year too but ours aren't that high the first time. Mmmm... and we're on our 3rd year of seed potato too - hope they turn out with a big crop like last year. We stored 375 pounds last year!

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing your potato strategy. We need to try potatoes here. It's just so hot and we've got no root cellar/storage for them, I guess I've never put them at the top of the list to grow. Wish we had your beautiful dirt.... Your garden pics are always so beautiful with nary a weed in sight.

Mama Pea said...

Ruth - Well, I've been wondering what had happened to you?! 'Bout time we heard from you. I thought maybe we were going to have to send out a search party.

Computer problems are the pits, no getting around it. Hope you're back in business now and will be posting again soon. I've missed you, too!

Mama Pea said...

Freedom Acres Farm - Now you've got me wondering if I should start hilling my potatoes when they're smaller. Can't recall ever hearing or reading when you should do the first hilling. We harvested right around 100 lbs. last year, but I'm betting you plant a lot more than I do, right?

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - There ya go, throwing out those lovely compliments! I wonder if potatoes don't grow well with your kind of heat? I really don't know. You'd have to store them in a separate refrigerator or something. Maybe buried in a 55 gallon drum sunk into the earth on the north side of your house? There should be a way . . .

Tombstone Livestock said...

My corn looked just like what comes in the can, only problem is I would pick one or two and eat them raw in the garden, I never planted enough to can them. They were just so tender and good.