Thursday, July 14, 2011

Potatoes and the Plots

The past week and a half has brought a lot of changes to the garden at the plots. Some veggies have ended and some are just beginning.

Yesterday I went over there to do some much needed watering and pull the last pea vines. Plans always seem to change and I decided that I better dig the red potatoes and maybe cut back the Kennebecs. As I was digging the reds, I found some that had been partially eaten. After finding that, I decided to dig all of the potatoes. I am really happy that I did!

Here are the partially eaten potatoes that I salvaged and brought home. It looks like a critter has been eating them...but, I found no evidence of moles or voles. After washing and cutting away the nibbled portions I ended up with 5 lbs of potatoes. I am going to make these into Scalloped Potatoes and freeze them for use over the winter. I cannot can them since I don't have a pressure canner, like some people Erin!

The undamaged Kennebecs weighed a little over 18 lbs and they are a good size.

The undamaged Sagre reds weighed 8lbs.
With all the potato problems both here at the home garden and at the plots, we ended up with just over 40lbs of potatoes this year. I'm not complaining one bit! That will be plenty of potatoes for "The Italian" and I to get through the winter. Although we love potatoes, we don't eat a lot of them.

Now for a short tour with lots of pics of some of what is going on over at the plots. I took these pics at 6:30 this morning and the sun was giving me a bit of a problem.

The purple pole beans are finally growing. I think it's going to be awhile before we have any beans. I was really late getting them planted. Tomato Alley in the background. The plants are doing pretty well and I picked the first two ripe tomatoes yesterday, a Belgian Beauty and a CP seed from Thomas.

Bed #2.
I built a couple of trellises last week for the squash in the Three Sisters planting in this bed. In the middle of the bed there are some dry beans. At the end of the bed is where the potatoes were planted. I think that I am going to cover that area for a couple of weeks to kill any nasties and then heavily amend the soil with composted manure. That will give me a good space for the Fall Broccoli and Cauliflower.

The first pumpkin in a sling

The first zucchini plant is producing. We will be picking the 3rd one from this plant tomorrow. There is also another younger plant behind it.

The second Three Sisters planting in bed #4. I did not trellis these squash.

There are several Long Island Cheese Squash on the plant in the front of the bed. Thanks Mimi for the seeds!

Cantaloupe are doing well so far. There is a small one at the bottom to the left if you enlarge the picture.

Here is part of bed #1. The cabbage is doing well and the Brussels Sprouts along the back seem to be holding their own. I am not holding my breath about the remaining cauliflower though. Time will tell if anything comes from those plants. There are also dry beans planted in the empty spaces between the remaining plants.

A couple of other notes for my records. The Heritage Raspberries that were there are now producing some new little berries on the new growth. I thought that they were done...but, I guess that I was wrong. The blackberries are coming on like gang busters. The celery is doing better, we have a lot of little eggplants and the peppers are out of control! That's it for now. I have a long day of canning and freezing ahead of I better get to work!


  1. Robin, absolutely beautiful! you have done a remarkable job... I can still see the before photo of the plot.

    I wanted you to know that we finally harvested 3 nice zucchini from the seeds you sent. I picked them a bit smaller than normal, a race against the slugs that strip away the outer surface. And the eggplant (plants) are gorgeous and blooming. Soon...
    Hope all is well.

  2. Your plot looks AMAZING, Robin! Everything looks so lush. You must be so happy with how it turned out.

    Also, I had the same problem with my potatoes last year (and most likely this year as well). I guarantee you they are the work of voles. I found an underground nest made of straw in my patch last year. Frustrating it's it? They did away with 40% of my crop and partially ate another 20%.

  3. Good work Robin. Everything looks beautiful and very promising. Beans are doing much better this year. Remember last year. I planted potatoes for the first time so I am curious how mine are doing. I think it is a little early to pull them since I planted late.

  4. Your plot looks great! I had some potatoes that were eaten like that last year, and I found some grubs near them when I harvested. I think they were the culprit.

  5. It has been fun to watch this garden evolve. Complementi!

  6. Hi Diana, Thanks a bunch! I am happy that you were finally able to harvest some zucchini. I really hope that you enjoyed them! Everything is really good!

    Thomas, We are very happy with the plots! Last year voles got into my potatoes too...remember?? I think that this may have been grubs as Emily mentioned. It could have been voles but I did not see any signs of them.

    johanna, I definitely remember the beans last year. They were 8' tall and wouldn't produce due to the hot temps. I put mine in so late this year. I'm sure we will get enough for our needs. You can always dig around the edges of the potatoes with your hands to see how they are doing and maybe sneak a few too! I grow early and mid-season potatoes so they are ready earlier.

    Thanks Em, I think that grubs may have been the culprit.

  7. The damage on your potatoes seems quite a lot of work for grubs. Our potato tops aren't anything like as high as it should be so we're a bit pessimistic about how large a crop we will have!

  8. Patricia, Grazie mille!

    Sue, I had voles get into the potatoes last year and the damage was more severe. The plants even died. I have not idea at this point. I will have to do a little more investigating

  9. You are in inspiration in the garden. I've only tried my hands at herbs and peppers in the desert. I eventually look forward to having my own fresh veggies. Have you ever tried growing purple potatoes? I cook with them all the time, but I don't know if they would grow here or for you. Do they even sell them here? Your garden is amazing....I look at those pics and think....that's a lot of work:)

  10. Rohrerbot, Thanks so much. I have grown a couple of different varieties of purple potatoes in the past. They are really pretty. This year I planted the best rated early and mid-season storage types that I could find. I don't know why I didn't plant any of the blues (purple). As far as the garden's a full time job with the canning, freezing and drying!

  11. WOW it is amazing what you can do in your 6b zone!! Up here in Saskatchewan i'm trying to grow almost all of the same things in a 2a zone...oh

  12. Everything looks wonderful and so do the (unmunched) potatoes. My potatoes haven't started to die back yet. I'm anticipating them, but we are like you. We love them but don't eat a whole heck of a lot of them.

  13. Oh those little buggers! I always wonder why cant they take up a taste for all this crab grass that grows everywhere. At least you got enough potatoes that will last you for a while. The gardens really look good.

  14. Mrs.P, It must be a real challenge growing in zone 2a! I would have a lot of big cold frames and my portable greenhouse would probably be permanent!

    Daphne, If I ate potatoes all of the time, I would be as big as a house and probably doing a lot of sleeping :)

    Thanks Jane, After all that you are going through, we are grateful for every single harvest! I am surprised how well everything is doing over there. I think the passive gardening thing is working out OK!

  15. Robin-your header photo is stunning. Love the colors!

    I have some carrots that look like your potatoes, but I DO have moles. I'll be watching here to see what you find out.

    The garden is looking terrific!

  16. Sue, I took a couple of pics of the zucchini early this morning and that picture just caught my eye.

    I may have voles or moles and I may not! I'm not sure if I will ever know for sure.

  17. But I have no doubt you will have a pressure canner someday, LOL! I hear that potatoes freeze really well - I've only frozen the twice-baked or stuffed kind, but they were great. Looks like you got a really nice harvest in spite of the critters!

  18. Erin, I never really thought that I would need a pressure canner until two days ago. My best friend has an antique shop and is always going to auctions. I'm going to have her keep her eyes open for a pressure canner for me. Maybe I can get one for a buck!

  19. The dirty rats! Doesn't that just tick ya off? Have you ever dehydrated potato? I am going to try it this year and see.

    Now...we gotta get you a pressure canner!

  20. Sorry you ended up with so much potato damage - but you salvaged it creatively and the remaining harvest looks great. The garden is looking gorgeous.

  21. APGal, No, I have never dehydrated potatoes. Let us know what you think about them. I'm going to keep my eyes open for a pressure canner.

    Laura, It was a good thing that I dug the potatoes when I did. Who knows how much damaged would have been done!

  22. Sorry about your potatoes, your large garden is so beautiful fill with all kinds of fruits and vegetables, both your garden and kitchen are so productive I can't keep up with all your posts, where do you get the energy?

  23. Thanks Mac, The potato harvest turned out pretty well and we are happy with it. As far as my energy goes, I had none today. Boy I wish that I was 40 again! I no longer work in my profession and spend most of my time tending to garden related chores and preserving.

  24. Can you tell me, does the zuchinni die back where you have harvested and then continue to grow for new fruit? I have picked at least six from my two plants and there seemed to be no new ones coming. It seemed like overnight I went out and all the leaves where those six had been have turned yellow and died back and there is new growth in the centre, just like when they were first planted. I'm not sure if something has gotten into the plant and it is dying, or if this is normal as it is my first time with these.

  25. Hi there Anonymous, My experience has been that the leaves will turn yellow as the plants gets older and fruit is harvested. I always cut the yellow leaves off. The plant will have new growth in the middle where new blossoms will develop. I hope that this is helpful. You could always send me a picture via my e-mail which is located on my profile. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!


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