April 26, 2017
The potato gardening-in-a-bag project has been very interesting. The potato plants have grown so tall that one of them tipped over and cracked its stem!
With some careful nurturing, Teri applied a popsicle-stick splint with surgical tape. The injured potato seems to be recovering nicely.
Mittleider Gardening Soil in Containers
May 2, 2017
Teri did an experiment with soil recommended by the Mittleider gardening method. One of the soils recommended is a mixture of two parts sawdust and one part sand. As she was adapting the soil for use in containers she wondered if the sawdust and sand dried too quickly for starting plants from seed. We decided to compare the sawdust and sand to a new mixture of half potting soil and half sawdust/sand mixture.
For seeds, the results of mixing the potting soil with the sawdust and sand were noticeably better than the straight sawdust and sand. Once the plants are past the seedling stage they do just fine in the sawdust and sand. However, during the germination and seedling stage, the tomatoes did better in the potting soil, sawdust, and sand mixture. It feels very fluffy and had a finer texture with the potting soil mixed in.
The two middle tomatoes were grown in sawdust and sand while the two outer tomatoes were grown in potting soil. All the tomatoes are of the same variety and were planted as seeds on the same day. They all were under the same lights and were watered together. The potting soil, sawdust, and sand produced the same results as straight potting soil for starting seeds. We concluded that either potting soil or a mixture of potting soil, sawdust, and sand outperformed the sawdust and sand mixture for starting seeds in containers.
Container Gardening Class
April 27, 2017
We had a great time with a class on container gardening. We purchased 28 extra large bags of potting soil for the potatoes-in-a-bag project. We assembled 110 of the kits.
We bought 115 lbs. of seed potatoes for the container gardening class. They were split about evenly between Pontiac Red and Red Lasota. Each bag should contain potatoes that share similar day-to-maturity, otherwise one plant in the bag will be ready for harvest while other plants in the bag will still be growing. We planted about a pound of seed potatoes in each grow bag.
Hauling all the supplies and the plants down the mountain was a challenge in the snowstorm. The potato plants were too large to fit in the Suburban and didn’t like the ride in the back of the truck.
The Mittleider fertilizer made the lettuce grow to maturity in only four weeks instead of the usual six weeks. It was extra green, too.
Ken was Teri’s “lovely assistant.”
Microgreens: adzuki, broccoli, sunflower.
Alfalfa sprouts growing on a splatter screen make a very thick carpet. They pull out of the screen with almost no effort when you are ready to use them.
Lots of green! These plants were growing quite happily in the greenhouse and scattered around the house waiting for the weather to warm up. They all survived the class.
– Ken and Teri
Veggies in Containers
May 9, 2017
The weather has finally warmed enough to transfer some of the plants outside!
The pool deck gets plenty of sunshine, and the pool fence keeps the deer and wild turkeys away. The green bean starter tray in the foreground is working beautifully.
– Ken and Teri
The New Hoe
May 11, 2017
We got a new hoe to try out. It is heavy duty and came without a handle. We picked up a long rake handle from Cal Ranch and drilled holes for the bolts.
One benefit is that it cuts both when you pull it and when you push it. We’ll let you know how well it works as we try it out.
2-Way Hoe Replacement Head (Amazon)
Handle 1 1/8″ x 60″ (Cal Ranch)
– Ken and Teri
Potatoes Planted in the Garden
May 13, 2017
We finished tilling the potato section of the garden. The next day we started planting the potatoes using some new seed potatoes and some left over potatoes harvested last fall. The new seed potatoes had very small chits (eyes) on them, but the leftover potatoes had much longer chits (on the right of the windmill in the picture). Daylight faded fast as we raked out the beds, so we ended up planting by the light of the moon. Ken used a shovel to make small holes, and Teri placed the potatoes in the holes. It looked like we were playing “Twister” as we moved down the rows. This picture is from the next day when it was light.
We wondered how the long chits would do. A bird stole at least one of the chits that were poking out of the ground (with the attached potato)! Maybe the big stem looks too much like a fat worm.
The windmill is back in place standing guard over the potato crop.
– Ken and Teri