Monthly Archives: February 2014

Potato Tower- A lot of Spuds in a small space.

Potatoes are delicious and fun to grow in the backyard garden. They also have a hadful of enenmies and fighting those foes will be easier in s tighter space. Image

This is where potato towers will come in. The towers can be wire cages, burlap bags, plastic barrels or wooden crates or boxes. 

The ideal , in the literature, seems to be about 4′ tall.  Image

The tower consist of soil/compost layer at the bottom with he seed potatoes set/spread properly and then covered with a soft, rich soil/manure/compost blend. 

Water regularly but don’t “drown” the plants.

After 3-4 weeks the plants should be 2-4 inches tall – At this stage watch the plants and when they are 5-6 tall- add more compost/soil( a pretty soft mixture and maintain the watering and “eyeball” maintenance until the plants have grown 3-4 more inches and again you will add a soft mixture of soil/compost/manure and straw. 

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This process can be repeated until the top of the tower which a final layer of mulch( pine needles are great here)-  is added.

Now the plants have grown to be 3 feet or more and are thriving in the tower and surrounded/protected by the compost and soil mixture. This rich combination will also provide a complete feed to the growing plants and tubers and the potential of as many as 20-35 pounds of potatoes.

Now in this phase the plants can be watched for insects/beetles that might LIKE some spuds as well as any disease that can fight potatoes. This tower makes it easier to control and monitor.

At the end of the growing season the tower can be disassembled and the potatoes harvested, If using the straw as shown in the picture – The cage and straw is removed and then the soil spread and the potatoes harvested. If using aburlap sacks- they can be turned on the side and emptied or cut open with knife/shears( be careful)

If a barrel of wooden tower is used open or turn over as appropriate.

Allow all freshly harvested potatoes to dry in the sun (or inside) for a little while so they will develop a little it of shelf life. If planning on storing look into preparation for storage as well as storage methods.

WARNING/REMINDER-   The soil that was used for this process should not be used for nightshade plants NEXT season (peppers/eggplants/tomatoes/potatoes). It may contain remnants of blight and other enemies of similar plants. Use it for squash or peas or onions…..Image

Thoughts ideas- borrowed from the web/brain of others

I am dying to jump into the garden- tomorrows morning run will include a 30 minute visit to the garden plot and some work…..(CROSS-TRAINING anyone? )

 

Helping friends with a garden and have a few stumps to play with so the following may be good idea. 

http://audaxdesign.co.uk/2014/02/22/picpost-stumped/

Also concerned with heavy rain/flooding that we dealt with last year. I have added a 2nd layer of wooden pallets to raised the beds even more- here are some more ideas.

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/using-permaculture-design-prepare-floods

 

Always glad to find pallet ideas for garden and home- 

http://audaxdesign.co.uk/2014/02/10/pallets-into-gardeners-delight/

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Some pallets for double decker raised bed(burlap bags for weed control)

Compost Tumbler

Compost Tumbler.

via Compost Tumbler.

I love this and found it when liked my blog. This is a tremendous idea and thanks ! for doing the groundwork- on the double reel idea.

Now I ned to find some reels and get “working”. This will work great in combo with regualr old school Compost bin system-

Jump start the goodies in bin #1. Maybe paint in dark green or black for heat…

Snowy day- Garden Planning, Reading and Dreaming

 

I spent a little time at my garden plot yesterday – dropping off coffee grounds from the coffee shop and mixing with dried leaves as I build up the beds for spring and summer.

The beds being developed are for beans, peas and squash. They will also have poles/teepees to climb and maximize the space.

My favorite poles are bamboo cut from a local “wild”patch.

I have been thinking of adding some potatoes to the garden this year. This is just for fun since they are quite inexpensive to buy at the Farmers Market- BUT they are such a rewarding plant. I have seen a few plans for building towersto maximize the growth of spuds in small spaces- The following was the first I found on a random search.

http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/how-to-build-a-potato-tower/

I am also adding a 2nd layer of wooden pallets to raise the beds in the garden to provide for deeper roots and protect against the flooding like we had last year. Hopefully I will grow some full sized veggies this year , rather than the stunted babies I got last year.

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Some of the following ideas I found with a quick search. I may add starwberries as well as potatoes. Pallets make great sense for this sweet treat.

http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/pallet-gardening-the-strawberries-are-going-bonkers/

This article has a lot of fun ideas- many of which i have seen and read and tried in the past.

https://brightnest.com/posts/learn-to-make-a-pallet-garden-in-7-easy-steps

 

Compost Bins and Composting and Planning for the Future of the Soil

I have a been a fan of collecting and making compost for the garden. I have had worms in bins doing the work for me. And black plastic bins cooking the greens and browns outside,

Now with friends and a bigger yard and garden we need to decide what to do for the compost that is or can be available with the farm in the woods and the nearby stream. 

A look at Compost bins-Tools

 * The following is a simple and useful Grab a roll of chicken wire and 2-4 stakes(plus a fork to turn) 

The following bins I have used- Love using the hot method to make compost quickly. At least get the batch started and then pas it on to a open bin.

Now I am looking into some ideas for the following reused/recycled items. Wooden pallets and cinder blocks/bricks.

 

 Now this one is a little fancy but will really crank up the heat and get the material churning and rotting- prepping for use in the garden.

Raised Bed for Rich Garden Soil

Working with friends building up the garden for fun and food and Serenity.

It is loaded with Virginia clay soil, filled with nutrients but heavy and hard and tough to water. It is on a slight incline so raising the beds will serve multiple purposes:

– provide a way to level the garden beds

-build up the soil making it softer and richer

-the softer beds make it easier to maintain and in the cooler months to cover

logs and trees- I have built a complete garden with fallen timbers. It looked great after a year and tremendouse in the 2nd and 3rd years  ( found this image on line_

There are several rivers, streams and mountains nearby so rocks of varying sizes will make a great border for the beds.

I have been using burlap bags from a local cofee roaster and shop ( http://www.shenandoahjoe.com ) The bags are great for planters and as a raised bed themselves. But I saw a photo of bags used to build the border of a raised bed. This picture is a little bit too formal for what I am thinking but the idea of the bags makes great sense.

Now it is time to do some looking and thinking about what to do and how.

This is another view of logs as bed walls.