Friday, August 7, 2009

Garden Sprawl Friday

The second beet harvest. These also were pickled. Some big ones were saved from the batch and I made Borscht yesterday - for the first time. It was quite good. Cabbage and onions happily were some of the other ingredients used that were from the garden.

And there are still beets left:

Going through and pulling beets I began to notice the pumpkins that had been growing among them. I knew there were pumpkins in that area of the garden, but didn't really pay them heed, as I have been noticing the other pumpkins, and these ones were quite hidden by the beets. Out of sight, out of mind. It made me realize how the growth and development of things - seeing the pumpkins suddenly like that - is magic. Come up with all the science you can; at bottom it remains magic.

I've counted around 18 altogether. They are a French heirloom variety, called, Rouge Vif d'Etampes. Their colour will become dark orange/red. I had to carefully turn the pumpkins so they would not be growing on their sides, which means turning the whole vine. I guess it's best to do that early, as I learned the vines at intervals send down roots into the ground, which you have to carefully pull up, as well as the tendrils that grasp the grass and other vines.


Some russet potatoes I pulled up the other day.

By the time I took these pictures ten had already gone into making fries. And they were really good.

They are from this section of the potatoe bed, not including the section where it narrows in, where that lone Cos lettuce stands, about to flower. (Hopefully I will collect seed from it. Lettuce, like beans, don't need another pollenizer to produce viable seed.):

Further up are some red chieftan potatoes and beyond those ones, more russets, of a later maturing variety. I've read so many contradictory 'facts' about potatoes on the internet that it is enough make one go bonkers. You should rotate potatoe plantings every year so they are never in the same bed as last year, or for even three years. You can plant potatoes in the same bed for years and years as "I've been doing" for the past nine years and nothing bad has happened; in fact, it's what the old timers used to do - save one special place just for potatoes. You should always buy new, certified seed potatoes for planting. "I've been planting potatoes" from my own harvests for years and nothing bad has happened. You should hill up the soil a lot, mounding more soil as the plant grows; that way you get more potatoes; in fact, buy one of our potatoe-growing bins and get huge harvests! You cannot get more potatoes from hilling up the soil, as potatoes only grow from between the bottom root and where the potatoe seed is, and never along the stem. Go ahead and mound up that soil; you're just going to get a lot of stem. You should not let your harvested potatoes cure in the sun, as they will go green; you should cure them in the shade. You can cure the potaotes in the sun on the soil you just took them out of for one to three days. In fact, that's what the old timers did. They dug up the potatoes and let them sit on the soil for some days and then the other workers would come and gather them up. Nothing went wrong with the potatoes.

And so it goes. While I am not sure about the first two arguments, I am pretty sure that you definitely cannot get more potatoes by hilling up the soil. You only want to hill once so that the growing potatoes don't get exposed to light. And I am pretty sure that you can cure them in the sun after digging them up, but carefully, not overdoing it. I let the ones above cure in the sun for one day on the soil. Of course I would be wary of doing it with the red ones that have thinner skins.


The pole beans:


Cos lettuce is coming up:

The rutabagas:

The muskmelons:

The sunflower: unfortunate symbol-victim of the vampiric vegan movement. Three of the four sunflowers have put out their flowers. The other one is content to keep growing taller first. You can see the beads of sap. (Click on all photos to enlarge.)


Owen said...

And all in your backyard? Awesome.

Jim Janknegt said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing.