More Potatoes and the Fall Crops

We finally got to harvesting more potatoes this weekend, and we were not disappointed. We got some really big ones and lots overall! Well, the only disappointment was to find more potato beetles on what is left of the vines. Some had grown past the larval/pupae stage to adult beetle, so I went through and picked them off the leaves and threw them in some water. The vines I will let dry out and burn – I don’t want to take the chance of getting these buggers into my compost bin.

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Colorado Potato Beetle – larva/ pupae. The bigger ones don’t seem to move much and so I am guessing are transforming.
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Colorado Potato Beetles, mature adults… and it looks like they are mating, too. Not good for my garden!

There were a lot of weeds to take care of too, so with my two little helpers we dug up almost a full row of Pontiac Reds and pulled weeds. We got a very full 5 gallon bucket, with maybe 5-6 more feet to go. This was the shorter row, 3′ x 18′ versus the other four rows of potatoes that are 3′ x 20′. So, with a quick estimate, there may be as many as ten more of these buckets out there in the dirt! Woohoo! We had a few in last nights soup, and they were very tender and delicious. What I like about growing potatoes, too, is they are on the “dirty dozen“, which means store bought potatoes potentially harbor lots of chemicals.

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Sweaty workers!

Fall Crop Update

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Fall transplants, soaking in the (artificial) sun!

All my soil blocks seem to be going along well. I say “seem to be” because this is only my second time starting seeds. I need to figure out how to make them less “leggy”, meaning the seedlings are long from the soil to the first leaf or cotyledon. They will be ok to transplant because I can bury the “leg” in the dirt, but it just makes the tray a bit chaotic. I need to start a couple of trays of kale and chard, and some back up broccoli and cauliflower (in case some don’t survive transplant).

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Greenhouse, getting prepped for a decent mulch floor and nice wooden benches.

I have added some shade cloth to my green house to try to cut down on the heat inside. I was really hoping to move my soil blocks out there. The shade is helping it to stay cooler, but with the doors open, it now stays the temperature of the air, as opposed to 10-20 degrees hotter. Cooler, but still hot. Since it is now in the 90’s, I will be keeping my plants inside. I also removed the plastic racks and will be building some more sturdy (and level) wooden benches in the fall. It will get sun all winter, so I am going to experiment with getting a lot of lettuce and greens started and see if I can extend my harvest through those months. It will also get some landscaping fabric and some mulch for the floor (can’t afford pea gravel just yet). Things in the fall accelerated so quickly, I didn’t worry about that then.

I also added a Schedule page to the blog to help me keep track of what I am growing, when I should expect the seeds to sprout, when I should transplant, and when to expect a harvest. I think it will help my organization.

Carrots, Turnips, Rutabaga and Beets will be the main staples for my root crops. I already have some of the Red Chantennay sprouting (after only 1 week!), which is extremely encouraging. Every time I plant a seed, I wonder “will it grow?” Some of my turnips and rutabaga have sprouted cotyledon too!

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Red Chantennay Carrot sprouts, one week after planting.
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Purple top Turnips in the foreground, then Bull’s Blood Beets, then Wilhelmsberg Rutabaga

The message at church on Sunday was on patience, and as I sat in the hot sun planting more carrots (Atomic Red and Cosmic Purple, way groovy), one of the preacher’s points hit me. Gardening is such an act of patience, and that is what the preacher was getting at, but also this – the gardener (farmer) is actively patient. I have to wait for all these veggies to mature, and because I have faith they will produce, I do what I can to help them grow. I’m still working while I’m waiting. Because I have seen them grow, I can be patient. And because I have seen God work in my life, I can be patient and wait. I do what I can now to help things to grow like plant, water, etc. And then wait…sometimes in a very uncomfortable hot sun.

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.” James 5:7

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