Tuesday, May 02, 2017

sexy, year to year

It seems that 5 years ago today we were doing a first plow (we usually did two plows, then several harrow days with a horse) on the rectangle garden.  Today, although a year we don't have access to a horse to work it with, the corn and potatoes are in, along with some squash and melons and cukes and stuff.   And Jerusalem artichokes flourishing from those we didn't eat out of there last year.

Corn and potatoes aren't sexy.  They are calories.  They are also pretty faithful, pretty steady, pretty reliable.  It is good to go for a lot of calorie bulk plantings because you don't know what will fail, what will spoil.  After the cukes and summer squash and probably melons make, we hope to use that ground to bulk sow turnips and beets.  People don't think about being hungry. The US doesn't have food stores anymore: they should.

The Trump fava beans have BEANS!  Beans are a good bulk calorie planting, if you use them as dried beans.  To have greens during the winter is a bit iffier, at least it has been so far for us.  Can or freeze green beans of course.  Hopefully we can grow some greens and let them sit out the winter and harvest as we need.  Hole up some cabbages.  Make some kraut too.

But right now 8# of kale already got harvested (mostly eaten), and the poke and stinging nettles have added to that, along with stinging nettle dried for tea.  It is time for the annual mess of locust blossom fritters.  Some critter, most likely a rabbit, is harvesting a few things too -- a trap must be set.

I always say, "Grow food."  People will start, and probably should start, with "sexy" plants.  Tomatoes.  Green beans.  Salad.  Oh and yes, all of that.  And you could buy a sack of corn and a sack of potatoes and play with the idea of bulk, non-sexy food.  That would be a good idea even.  But even just a few potatoes in a tire will let you realize how much better your own potatoes taste.

Today a couple rows of potatoes actually got hilled just a little, they'd broken ground that much. Today one goat is in milk and another one has a bag swelling and we all wish the cow's bags would swell so we could eat that bull.  Today I can no longer see the mountain swing away south from the highway when I stop waiting to pull out onto it because all the leaves are out.


jules said...

We want to plant potatoes this year. How do you do that?

CG said...

Most people use seed potatoes, and generally you will get a better yield and less disease if you do, but potatoes grow potatoes (although we have found some that have so much sprout retardant sprayed on them, they won't sprout). So generally, chit your potatoes (which means, let them sprout a bit), and plant them. They don't want the soil too rich or too sweet. They are tough and we've used them to "break" new beds (planted them on the ground in the bed and covered with soil, compost, manure, whatever, let them grow, and then the next year, that's a bed for growing anything). A great way for "beginners" or people short on space to grow them is to plant them in tires, and as the green breaks the ground, add another tire filled with soil, and do like 3 or 4 tires deep.. There should be potatoes at ever level of tire. You can do the same thing in containers, and dump the container to harvest. I'm sure there are lots of how-to's out there. Harvesting immature potatoes is what "new potatoes" are. The potatoes are made when the plant dies. Yukons are really short season potatoes, russets are long season. Our potatoes have all been hilled once at this point but that doesn't mean it is too late even here to plant them. If you get to a spot and get stuck or have a specific question, feel free to email me or I should see a comment here.

jules said...

Thanks so much! We moved to SW Michigna in September from Mobile, Alabama, so planting is all new. So when the green breaks the soil, you cover it up again? When do you let it finally grow out and harvest?

CG said...

well I don't know much about Mobile or Michigan. We don't usually cover ALL the green but I think you can, and you hill usually two or three times.

jules said...