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A run down on my potatoes

  • Monday, May 23, 2011
    OK- this year I bought WAY TOO MANY potatoes...again.  I mean it is a curse I think.  I thought I got just what I needed, but now I have potatoes planted in every kind of bed you can imagine! I even converted my herb bed for potatoes!  Ok, so if I count, I have 5 actual beds of potatoes, and let me see.....5 potato bags ..... and 3 random containers with spuds AND I gave my mome a few of each!  Ok Linna, lesson for next year!

    Here is a rundown of what I have:
    • Red Norland- Productive and early redskin.One of the best summer varieties for early digging, and it stores well! Great baked, boiled, or roasted. The oblong potatoes have smooth red skin, white flesh, and size rapidly. Introduced in 1957 from North Dakota, Norland has been the standard of early red potatoes for many years. This Dark Red strain is a new selection for richer red skin color. The medium-large, purple-flowered plants resist scab, leaf roll and potato viruses A and Y. TIP: For a higher percentage of small red potatoes, plant at 6-8" apart; for larger potatoes, sow about 12" apart.
    • Purple Viking- Unique taste and smooth texture make this variety a favorite for many. Slightly sweet flavor gets sweeter with longer storage. Snow white flesh is perfect for mashing, but is also excellent for any preparation. Beautiful purple skin with red-pink marbling. Average tubers are 3½-4" in diameter, with potential for larger tubers. Excellent storage qualities. 80-100 days.
    • German Butterball- First place winner in Rodale’s Organic Gardening “Taste Off.” A good choice for roasting, frying, and especially for mashed potatoes. Russeted skin and buttery yellow flesh. Always one of our favorite all-purpose potatoes. Excellent for long-term storage. Very good yields. 100-120 days.
    • Katahdin- Buff skin, white flesh. The choice winter potato for northeastern growers.  Released in 1932 by USDA adn Maine, it is the standard by which all storage potatoes are compared.  Very well suited to a Maine growing season, spreading plants can produced some clunkers.  The tubers tend toward the soil's surface, so hill well.  Resistant to mild mosaic, but not spindle tuber or leaf roll.  Medium to large spreading plant with many large light purple flowers.
    • Green Mountain-Famous for its marvelous flavor and exceptional baking qualities. An heirloom released in 1885, bred in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Produces a high yield of light tan-skinned, white-fleshed tubers that store exceedingly well. Resistant to verticillium, blackleg, and fusarium storage rot, but susceptible to scab and viruses. Large spreading plant with big, white flowers. VERY LIMITED both organic and conventional seed.
    • Red Pontiac- 90 to 100 days. For rich, full flavor and a big crop in a wide range of soil conditions, this red-skinned potato can't be beat! Red Pontiac is an improved sport of Pontiac with deeper red skin color, higher yields, and better adaptability to clay soil. A mid-season variety, it offers sweet, solid white flesh with a flavor you just have to try to believe! The large, round tubers hold their shape and color during cooking, making them a great all-around choice for boiling, baking, frying, and mashing. If you just can't wait until harvest time for a potato fix, pluck these new red potatoes earlier for a simple, tasty treat - boiled, lightly seasoned, and straight to your plate! These plants grow up to 3 feet tall but spread 2 to 3 feet wide, and each 2-pound bag will sow 20 to 25 feet of row and yield 25 pounds of potatoes or more.
    • Russet Burbank- Most people throughout the United States and the World identify Idaho as "The Potato State" because of this single potato variety. This potato variety was developed in the late 1800's by a Massachusetts man named Luther Burbank and didn't find its way to Idaho until the early 1900's.  The Russet Burbank is a much slower maturing potato than the Dark Red Norland and Yukon Gold potatoes. However, they have much higher yields in comparison. The Russet Burbank's elongated shape and thick skin make it a very versatile potato. The most common uses for the Russet Burbank potato are BAKING, MASHING, and FRENCH FRYING.
    Oh yes, and that bag of organic red potatoes left in my cupboard, they went into the garden too!

    Scapes are up!

  • Sunday, May 22, 2011
  • This year instead of  buying seed garlic, I just bought the garlic from the PVF farm stand. They had a great variety of hard-neck garlic, so I said WHY NOT!  It came up beautifully in November, and really shot up after the winter.  Yesterday I noticed my first scape, wow!  Get ready for scape pesto!

    Start of my garden journaling routine for 2011!

  • So 1.5 months has past since I posted last, and MY how things have changed.  Honestly I spend so much effort in the spring to get the garden ready, that I almost feel like I want winter to come ... NOT!  Ok- but I have been super busy this year. I think the difference is that I taught ALOT of classes this season to try to inspire and ignite the home food gardening passion :) in people.  More on that later- back to my garden!  I also added 16 new beds to my garden, soo.....that probably has added the exhaustion I feel.  I think the reason I love keeping this garden journal is so I know how much gardening I am capable of!  I have to remind myself that I work full time, have Broden age 5, Skyla age 1.5, a house, a husband, and friends to spend time with.  So listen, if you are reading this, if I can do it, ANYONE CAN!

    So here we are, end of May, and I have been eating and gardening for a few months now!  Hot weather veggies went in around May 10th or so .... and today I shoved in the last few tomatoes that volunteered themselves, and I don't have the heart to compost them!  So here is the round up of what I have done UNTIL THIS POINT:

    In the kitchen garden (KG) I current have the following growing:
    • Bok choi
    • 2 beds of Egyptian walking onions
    • Okra
    • purple kale
    • golden beets
    • red beets
    • cilantro
    • parsley
    • cutting celery (a variety Gale is sweet)
    • asparagus
    • 3 types of eggplant
    • rattlesnake pole beans
    • cabbage
    • 4 types of lettuce
    • swiss chard
    • Suyo long cucumber
    • Mici cucumber
    • strawberries
    • dills
    • 2 types of peas (estancia and xxx)
    • New Zealand spinach
    • Curly blue kale
    • Calendula, marigolds, petunias
    • Assorted potatoes (in grow bags)
    • Artichokes
    • sunflowers
    • bush beans
    • lots of onions!
    • spinach
    So until the spring stuff starts bolting, things are abit full!

    In the pumpkin patch area, I am growing: (note the stink bugs loved the pumpkins so much I am not planting them this year.....)
    • Purple Viking figerling potatoes
    • Red russet potatoes
    • Rainbow tomato
    • Egg Yolk cherry tomato
    • Chocolate mint (from Julie's house!)
    In the 'main garden' I decided to plant things that I don't need to check on that often.  I find with little kids I just don't have time to go down to the garden (it isn't that far .... but every second counts!) So I growing:
    • (3) beds of potatoes, red norlands and a bunch of classic keepers ( German butterball, Katahdin, Green Mountain, Red Pontiac, Russet Burbank)
    • (3) beds of tomatoes: Juliets,  Mexico, Japanese Black Trifele, Kosovo, Opalka, Black Russian, Striped Roman, Green Zebra, Black Cherokee, Virginia Sweets, Black Icicle, Mr. Stripey, Black Sea Man, and a few others I will remember later!)
    • Drying beans- both pole and bush
    • (1) bed of garlic
    • (2) beds of Asparaugs.  Planted this year, 3- year roots
    • (1) large Rhubard bed (2 types)
    • (1) bed for bush delicata
    • Peppers - Thai Hot and Serrano
    • Strawberries
    • and some TBD squash

    Overall I am VERY happywith my main garden because last fall I composted all my healthy dead vegetation on all the beds, so to start teh winter they were all 3-4 ft high.  Then over the winter they fell abit, I added 6 inches of composted horse manure, laid down soaker hoses, AND covered with landscape fabric!  All this means, NO WEEDS, HAPPY PLANTS, and little maintenance for me :)  I also mulched all the aisles with straw and I just love the soft look of my garden.

    So can I say, that is it!  ha! 

    Other things of note:
    • New Zealand spinach reseeded itself, sweeet!
    • Heirloom petunias reseeded themselves, I then planted with tomatoes, in hanging baskets, and by the stairs to the house
    • Bought too many tomatoes at Gale's....
    • Not growing sweet potatoes unless I grow them from my sweets. I honestly don't eat the potatoes much, but LOVE the leaves!
    People who made this garden possible:
    • My dad, for building me the best kitchen garden EVER! And for reinforcing my deer fencing!  And for finding straw on teh side of the road for my paths!
    • A friend name Julie was wonderful to give me 7 bales of straw (albeit moldy) but perfect for my paths!
    • George, for providing me a massive amount of 'black gold' and dropping it off with his dumper truck, WHAT A LIFE SAVER!
    • My mom for planting flowers around the pond, great for pollinators, and for people who say I only grow vegetables!
    • Gale, for growing the best tomatoes and veggie transplants EVER!
    Ok, next post will have actual garden updates on a ROUTINE basis!