I planted Potatoes today, it’s good to be an optimist.

I planted Potatoes today, it’s good to be an optimist.

A bright sun greeted me this morning when I rose from bed and climbed the two flights of stairs to where the coffee is. There was frost on the pumpkin even though the temperature was well above freezing 47F (7.2C) with a slight breeze, Skunkpuppy was itching to get outside. I, on the other hand, was content to sit on the warm side of the window to see what she was so focused on. Squirrel, we had moved our living Christmas tree onto the porch along with a bunch of other stuff destined for the garage and beyond. The squirrel was digging through the bags of sprouted potatoes, and other stuff from our downsizing. We also hung a bird seed ornament made by our two-year-old grand-daughter as a present to us. That was the squirrels’ main target, it was completely devoured by the time I went out to look at it. Still, there were no other critters out, Cormorants were as usual but none other so the video camera sat dormant for another morning.

DoublecrestedCormorant_
Cormorants, the flock is increasing, it’s good to see the birds returning to the slough.

After drinking my coffee the task for the day was to hook the trailer up to my mobility scooter and take the remnants from our “downsizing” efforts on Sunday to the garbage. We managed to toss one plastic platter in the recycle can, our downsizing was performed with every intention of getting rid of stuff, but if it was a three-legged stool staying upright would be a challenge. I made two trips to the roadside of the house, true to form I dug through the stuff just to make sure it was all stuff we didn’t want. I kept the vases for the yard sale all 10 of them, I kept the guitar books over 12 of those, I kept the griddle from a stove we replaced 15 years ago, and lastly, I kept a cardboard box from Amazon because it is a “good size”. My neighbor stopped on his tractor to ask me what I was up to, “just putting stuff in the garage and shed to marinate until I throw it away” was my reply, he laughed “that’s a good way to say it” Joe said. But it’s true, I’ll end up placing it in the trash in a few months when I get tired of moving it out of my way. After the visit to the garage, I grabbed the sprouted potatoes and headed to the garden.

Gardeners have a tendency to jump the gun on planting, normally it happens in February during our what has become normal false spring. One or two weeks during the second month turn warm and springlike causing many people to purchase a bunch of plants, vegetable, and flowers, then immediately plant them. I admit there are years I am tempted but have not done that in many years, my wife, however, will stop and buy something.

raised bed potatoes
Red Potatoes in the nearest raised bed, Russets in the bed on the far side.

I took the potatoes to the raised bed garden boxes, they all still need to be prepared for the winter, due to the constant rain I haven’t had a chance to do it. I started today with planting the potatoes, it may be a bit early for them but they are hearty and most likely will sprout and be ready by mid-May.

I cut the existing plants off a ground level and lay the tops on the soil, that is covered with cardboard or newspaper then organic material goes over the top. I planted the potatoes on top of the cardboard, normally I use leaves as a cover however I was able to get a lot of water weeds from my neighbors’ dock. He had piled the tules and water lilies to dry with the intention of green wasting them. They are nutrient-rich, plants grow in the composting water weeds astoundingly well. I had placed some in a box before the last bout of rain which made them soaking wet, that aids the composting. Much to my surprise when I began to dig in them the number of earthworms was an eyeopener. I had placed 500 Red Wigglers in each box 5 years ago when they were first filled with compost, the water lilies were densely populated by them. Worms eat their way through the environment and while so doing they leave in the organic material worm “castings” or more commonly recognized as manure. Rich in Nitrogen the castings are immediately usable to the plants as it is organic natural fertilizer, it is not possible to give the plants too much, it won’t burn them as synthetic commercially manufactured fertilizers will.

compost tumbler
My Tumbler Composter, It’s OK as long as the lid is on securely. 

The earthworms live between the layer of completely decomposed matter and the partially decayed organics leaving the manure where they live approximately 6 inches (15.2 cm) below the surface. That is the layer I planted the potatoes in then covered them with the water plants. The material holds water well, I most likely will not have to water them at all during this late winter growing experiment. The frost won’t hurt them unless if it freezes and stays cold throughout the day, I have a volunteer coming up in another box that seems to be unaffected by the cold dips. If they sprout I am expecting them to be ready to harvest by the middle of May, at that time I will plant Jalapenos and Acorn Squash in those dedicated boxes. Potatoes need a lot of water the tules give it up reluctantly, they are the perfect ground cover for the winter, now I will see if the plants will make it. A word of caution, this stuff smells bad, stink does not do it justice, it reeks. The closest I am able to compare it to is the smell beside a sewage treatment plant, It smells a lot like the plant across the river 1 mile distant from us. Twice a year that processing plant raises a stink, I only have to put up with the tule smell in the garden once a year.

compost towers
I constructed these towers to grow Potatoes in last March (2018) it was not a successful endeavor. If you notice there is a green sprout coming out on the nearside bottom, there is one more to the right of it but it is barely visible. I use them now for composting straw, leaves, and water plants.

I will continue preparing the beds for the winter and spring planting. The Artichokes are beginning to grow and should be ready to produce in a few weeks, I planted them from seeds several years ago, they are doing remarkably well. Some onions are coming up in the same beds I planted the potatoes in so I let them grow. I will see how this all ends up, as usual I am optimistic they will yield buckets of produce.

I appreciate you taking the time to read and share my blog, we still have a long time until planting but the nice weather brings us out in droves to prepare. Thanks again.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self-Reliance

One response to “I planted Potatoes today, it’s good to be an optimist.”

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