Posts Tagged ‘potatoes’

Potatoes

 I’ve planted my potatoes for the year!

Originally I didn’t think the little yard would have enough room for the space hog plants but it appears that I was underestimating the production capacity of this place.  Against the back fence there was originally mad amounts of brush and weeds; suckers from the lilac and chokecherry busThe mess that was destined to grow potatoeshes were everywhere.  Last fall we cut down the tallest of the weeds and hacked up a bunch of roots but left it at that.  The area is still occupied by the chokecherry bush and the lilac.  Both have been heavily pruned and are more open and airy than they were last  year.  I’m hoping that despite their proximity that I can still grow a decent crop of delicious tubers.  There are also a few old tree trunks that are in the way but most of the roots have been hacked up. 

On Monday I had a day off and decided something needed to be done.  I grabbed the fork and hand dug the whole patch, maybe 150 sq feet? I’m bad with space estimations but thats what my back felt like afterward.  Anyway, what was underneath was a slightly clay type soil with ample organic matter (or so it seems) with a nice dark colour and rich smell.  I was able to get the whole root systems of the resident dandelion population and removed the roots from quite a few trees that were cutting through the area as well as numerous bottle caps, broken glass pieces and, curiously, a large, heavy metal plate.  After all that it fluffed up quite nicely and raked it down into some large, irregular beds.  

img_0818

After making some trenches in the bed (roughly 8-10 inches deep) I planted the back row with some spoiled potatoes my mother had given me, I believe they are probably Norland, as that is the most common type in this neck of the woods.  The second row was some certified seed Norland and that was followed by a couple rows of Russian Blues.

Fantastic looking potatoes the Russian Blue.  I cut one in half to get the most out of it and it was a dark, rich blue all the way through with a bit of a lighter border near the skin.  After a light tamp down with about six inches of soil a light sprinkling of some blood/bone meal I gave them a good soaking to get them well on their way. 

I also planted two little patches of horseradish at the ‘entrance’ to the potato patch.  I’ve read that horseradish acts as a companion to potatoes by increasing their disease resistance.  Kind of vague but I’m interested in trying a lot of companion combinations and I really wanted to try growing my own horseradish too.  

img_08221

Now to those of you thinking “Its too early to plant potatoes in  your zone, the last frost date is still 2-3 weeks away!” I respond,  yeah, it might be on the early side, but I have heard of people doing it this early.  Potatoes take about 2 weeks to emerge from the soil and can apparently take a light frost.  If anything nasty is predicted I’ll mulch over them with some leaves or sheets.  I’ve put lots of things in earlier than I’ve ever done before.  I’m taking a bit of a risk, but I’m hoping that I can pull it off.  Fresh radishes by Victoria Day?  Damn rights.

What do you think of my idea?  Too early? Any suggestions? Leave me a comment