Posts Tagged With: compost

Couldn’t help myself, one more potato tower

Last year I built three towers to satisfy my own curiosity about growing potatoes in a tower. The one tower was a complete disaster because of a transparent tower that caused leaf development 10” from the surface. The other two did very well with potatoes developing over a 16” length of underground stem. These were short towers as I was not looking for a lot of potatoes but I did want to see the anatomy of a potato plant and just where the potatoes grew from.

While researching potato towers I found many people claiming success and a few that said that it was not possible. At the same time almost everybody claimed that early potatoes did not do well in towers. Well the Yukon Gold is our early potato, and the Kennebec is our mid-season potato, so I went with the Kennebec for my test.

After I harvested the broccoli and cabbage it opened up a pathway to a volunteer Yukon Gold potato plant and I decided it was time for it to go. That crazy plant had lifted that bed about three ins.

 

Later when I was cleaning up the debris I noticed that there were potatoes growing on that part of the stem that was above ground. If you look close at the lower most potatoes you can see leaves growing behind them and they are below the potatoes above.

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Now when someone talks about potato towers this photo pops in to my mind and I wonder why Yukon Gold potatoes do not do well in a tower. I figure the only way to get that photo out of my mind is to have another experiment so here goes another tower.

There is a Yukon Gold with four chitted buds planted at least 8” deep in the base as you see it.

 

The tower was then filled with amended potting soil which puts the seed spud about 15” below the surface. I will fill the tower as the weather compresses it keeping the soaker hose about 2-3” and the seed spud about 16”+ below the surface. Wish me luck, John

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Categories: Potato, Potato Tower | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

All this for a salad

 All this for a salad it but it was worth the effort.

After I got inside the GH this is what I harvested. It will be served with stuffed eggplant from this summers garden.

While I was there I looked around to see how everything was doing. The peppers are doing fine but it will probably be time to plant them outside before I get any.

The tomatoes are doing great and there are two plants with many green toms.

I should have a steady supply. Sure beats store bought. John

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Categories: Greenhouse Gardening | Tags: , | 4 Comments

2009 winter garden update 11/24

47 days after planting, almost everything is looking good. The tomato blossoms look healthy and not dropping off. No green tomatoes yet though. The onions lettuce and endive look good also. The spinach is a little leggy, I think it would like it a little cooler. The peppers are slow and I think they would like it a little warmer. I am still hoping for something editable by Christmas. John

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Categories: Greenhouse Gardening | Tags: , | 1 Comment

The last potato tower for 2009

I should give a recap on the tower. The base of the tower is 8” deep. Two Kennebec seed potatoes were planted 6” deep, then two tiers added and filled with compost. The seed potatoes ended up about 16”+ deep. This was not an incremental filling of the tower. The tower was filled within 15min of planting. After about 2-3 weeks the one sprout broke through the surface and the other never showed up. When harvested there were no signs of it ever trying so it turned out to be a dud spud.

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This is the first spud harvested. The stolen is coming from an area very close to the surface. I do not know if it was above or below ground but not any where near the seed potato or root zone of the main plant. The stolen is bent around so as to get a continuous view from potato to stem.

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Here you can see three stolen near the top of an underground stem. On the end of that stem is a portion of the seed potato that is about 16” away from the upper most stolen.

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The next three photos are a closer photo of each stolen so you can trace it from potato to stem.

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The total weight of the potatoes were 4lb 14oz.

 

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The largest was 1lb 3oz.

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As Usual, all comments are welcome.   John

Categories: Potato Tower | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

One comparison between RB/SFG and conventional gardening

Last years squash bed was planted in hills. When looking down from above, it would look like double fives on a pair of dice. After the plants emerged the bed was heavily mulched with leaf mold and compost. The harvest was typical of my squash beds at 39-41 squash (depending how many times I count them).

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This is the same area converted to raised beds filled with 100% compost. This is the first year for the raised beds in this area. Last years squash bed was 90” wide and this years RB for squash is 40” wide, less that 45% of last years bed. The number of squash in the RB 29 a substantial increase per sq/ft production. As usual all comments are welcome. John

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Categories: My Gardening Journals, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Who sez potato rhizoms don’t grow on the stem?

Because of the Late Blight hitting my tomatoes this year, I terminated the potato plants in an effort to save whatever crop I had. The Yukon Gold potatoes look great and the Kennebec potatoes are smaller but the perfect size for DW and me. I could have left them grow but I did not want to take the chance. Since I did terminate the plants, I decided to harvest the first potato tower. I covered the building of and the growth of the tower in an earlier post. Now it is time to see what I got.

 

The tower is 20 ½” tall. I tied garden twine around the main sprouts and attached a bungee cord to keep the plant in position as I remove the compost from around the spuds and rhizomes.

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This is the first spud I came to. It is about 16” above the seed potato I had planted. The rhizome and potato were growing horizontally not upward like many people say.

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The second spud was located about 13 1/2 “from the seed potato.

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Here I started to remove the next level.

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There seams to be rhizomes with marble size potatoes everywhere.

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This is the potato plant as removed from the soil. It is about 20” from the tip of the green to the seed potato. There were three nice potatoes below the seed potato. I hope this answers some questions as where potatoes grow on a plant.

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The weight of the potatoes on this plant is meaningless but it was 3 lb 3 oz. As usual, all comments are welcome.

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Categories: Potato Tower | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The anxiety of gardening.

After the devastation of my tomatoes by the Late Blight, I was more than a little anxious about the condition of my potatoes. The Yukon Gold potatoes had been dying back but I thought it was the normal time for them to be doing so. Two 2’ X 8’ beds back to back in the foreground are YGs and had been cleaned off. The two beds behind them are Kennebec potatoes and look great, I do not think they are affected (yet). Both types of spuds exceeded 40” in plant growth and as you can see, my pathways should have been about 6’ instead of 18” wide.

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This photo is of the bed on the left. I lifted the spuds for the first 14” only on Aug 07th

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These two spuds were harvested on July 20th from the same 14” area and weigh 1lb 7oz

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These spuds are the same ones in the first photo and weigh 6lb 2oz. The total weight for 2.33 squares is 7lb 9oz or 3lb 6oz per square. If these two squares are representative of all the squares in the potato beds that will be 204lb of potatoes. Do any of you have tomatoes that you want to trade for potatoes? Hummm….. I wonder how a slice of potato would taste on a hamburger.

John

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Categories: Potato | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

I do grow veggies other than potatoes

I have been posting about potatoes so often I thought I should show you my other veggies. This is my asparagus bed. I planted two-year-old crowns and supposedly, I can make limited cuttings next spring. They look so spindly I sort of dough it.

Asparagus

The bell peppers are Big Dippers and are loaded with blossoms.

Bell Peppers

The Bibb lettuce is fantastic and will be my annual lettuce. It also did very well in the GH last winter.

Bib Lettuce

The broccoli looks good and is about to develop heads. The three plants in front are purple cabbage.

Broccoli

I have not grown Brussels sprouts for a while and will not be able to predict outcome until late summer. And another three purple cabbage in front.

Brussels Sprouts

The Butterbush winter squash have sprouted and have to grow about 10” North to reach the trellis. I will tie them to the sticks to get them off the soil as soon as possible to help me combat the squash bugs.

Butterbush

Cauliflower is not showing any sign of heads yet but it usually takes longer than the broccoli.

Cauliflower

The eggplant is chucking full of blossoms and looking great.

Eggplant

I free sowed the endive and thin it as we eat. As soon as I thin it, it fills back in.

Endive

Onion plants are just taking root and hard to see. I also planted 12 Alisa Craig onions that can get up to five pounds each.

Onions

Cannot say much about the tomatoes except they are on there way to higher places.

Tomatoes

The Zucchini are on there way to the first rung of the ladder. I will see how this goes.

Zucchini

The sweet potatoes are growing slowly, the weather has been very cool but I hope the roots are developing well.

Sweet Potatoes

Ok, I have to say something about the potatoes. The ones in the foreground are the Kennebec and the ones in the background are the Yukon Gold. The fence to the right is four ft tall. As usual, all comments are welcome.

Potatoes




Categories: My Gardening Journals, Potato, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

TPT sprouts (just photos)

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Categories: Potato Tower | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

I dig potatoes

2009-05-26

 

While not yet, but I am looking forward in anticipation. The Yukon Gold potatoes are growing gangbusters.

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They were planted 8”deep 16 days ago and are now 16+” tall.

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I do not remember what day I planted the Kennebec potatoes but they broke through the surface about 4-5 days ago.

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Which brings me to the potato tower; I planted one Kennebec spud in the tower 8” deep the same time as the other Kennebec spuds.

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It broke through the surface the same day as the first Kennebec spud in the beds and I quickly put the first tier in place.

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This is a close-up of the previous photo.

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The next morning I filled the tier about half way and placed some compost up against the plant to the leaves.

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This is a close-up of how I covered the plant. It is about 2-3” below the surface of the compost.

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By the next morning, it had grown another couple of inches and I pulled some compost into the hole covering the stem.

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I repeated this for two more days and the tier was full.

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I added the second and last tier and will repeat the process until it is full. The tower is 20 ½” tall and that should be enough to show if the process works for me or not. As usual, all comments are welcome.    John

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Categories: My Gardening Journals, Potato, Potato Tower, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tomatoes are planted. (both of them)

We are supposed to have a day and one half with out rain and the grass is too wet to mow so I planted my tomatoes. Another attribute of gardening in a soil less mix is you can plant right after a rain and not ruin the soil. In this photo, I have dug a trench about 6” deep and about 10” long. I add about a hand full of garden tone and a tablespoon of Epson salts and mix them into the soil. Then I will trim the bottom leaves off for about 8” above the root ball and lay the plant horizontally in the trench. p5060222

 

I temporarily tie the plant to a stake until it grows upright on its own. Then I will install the tomato cages after any danger of frost is past.p5060223

 

As usual, all comments are welcome.    John

Categories: My Gardening Journals, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

A case for saving my own seeds

I planted sixty tomato seeds this year. Today when checking there condition, there was one and only one out of sixty that had potato shaped leaves. Something similar happened to Granny this year. The tomato seeds were from the big “B” seed company and cost about $0.10 per seed, which is ridicules. If it is a Brandywine Pink, I think I would keep it but it may be a German Johnson, which I did not like. Maybe my daughter who has a large garden will grow it and I can keep some seeds if it is a BP. Some if not all of the big seed companies are having there seeds packaged over seas and I am afraid this will be a common occurrence. Next year, I will be buying very few if any seeds.

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As usual, all comments are welcome.    John

Categories: Greenhouse Gardening, soil blocks | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Soil Test

Since I had the core sample, I decided to do a soil test. The test chambers on the left side of the containers are lighter in the photos than they were with the negated eye. I think the light averaging of the camera screwed it up. The Nitrogen test was between N1 and N2, the Phosphorus test was between F2 and F3 and the Potash test was between K0 and K1. I think I will add some 10-10-10 sparingly this year.

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The pH test indicated between 6.5 and 7. I also had some pH test paper and it indicated between 6 and 7. I will not do anything for the pH this year.

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Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hooray hooray—-they are sprouting!! Yipee

I wonder if I could sell these to GNC???

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Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Happy New Gardening Year

After watching, Granny, EG and Safonian and eating my heart out, it is finally time for me to start my plants. Today I started my peppers:

Ten Big Dipper

Ten Red Bell

Ten Poblano

Five Picante

Five Sweet Bananas

Five Midway Red

 

The first photo shows the pepper seeds in the little divots. I placed two seeds in each divot, with this being my first time trying soil blocks, I wanted a little safety factor for success.

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 The brass acorn nut makes a divot close to ¼” deep, which for most of my plants will be ideal. I filled the divots with fine grind vermiculite.

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  I placed the seed flat on a heated bed of sand @ about 80 deg f and placed a humidity dome over it. The air temperature inside of the cabinet ranges from 60-65 deg f during the day and 50-55 deg f at night. Which I think is ideal.

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Just a few minutes later, you can see the condensation collecting on the inside of the chamber. It seams that everything is working the way it should. Any way the 2009 growing season is underway and I feel like celebrating.

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The humidity dome app. 24 hours later.

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If you snap your finger on the dome, the condensation runs down the sides and you can see what is going on inside without opening the dome.

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Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

This is my seed germinating station

This is my seed germinating station. I have room for five standard trays and two half trays. On occasion, I have been known to place two flats on top of the florescent lights also.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe three and one half trays in the center are setting on three ins. of heated sand at 75 DEG F. Once a flat is fully germinated, it will be moved to the GH and one from the right or left will be moved into its place. When all veggies are germinated, then I will start on the wife’s posies.

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All flats are empty except for the one on the left setting on the heated sand.

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I pored about a quarter cup of water on the bottom for demonstration purposes. The thermometer shows 73 and ½ DEG F and 100% humidity. You can see the condensation draining from the sides back into the bottom of the flat. I do not think I will have to add water until I remove the humidity domes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 

Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Square Soil Blocks

Well, I found a square container the size I wanted. It is a Tupperware type and if my DW does not find out, I will be in good shape. I followed the same procedure as the round one and it produces a 2″ X 2″ X 2″  soil block with a divot.

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.My mix of 50/50 fine compost and fine vermiculite + 1/2 cup of dried blood per cubic ft of mix seem to be holding together well

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Now if I can get the rest of my apple trees pruned, I will be able to start planting seeds in about 2-3 weeks.

Categories: soil blocks | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Soil Blocks

I decided to try soil blocks for starting garden plants. Before I invested $$ in a soil block maker, I did a Google search on DIY soil blocks. This web page had the ideal solution for me. http://toppertwo.tripod.com/soil_blocks.htm I get my prescriptions mail order in 90-day quantities and use the containers for seed storage. I had two containers where one was slightly smaller in diameter than the other.

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 I used the bottom of the smaller container for the plunger. My containers were also taller than Toppers and I decided to take advantage of the increased length. I added a nylon nut to adjust the height of the blocks. I have read that you do not want to distort the taproot of carrots and parsnips. The additional length of the block will give me additional time to plant those plants in the garden.

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The little brass acorn nut is for making the divot for the seed/s.

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The divot is not evident, but it is there.

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Categories: soil blocks | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Compost VS Peat

I have allways started my seeds in a 50/50 mix of vermiculite and peat. This year I had many extra tomatoe seeds and planted them in a flat of 50/50 vermiculite/compost. Next year I will be planting all my seeds in the compost mix.

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Categories: Composting | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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