Saturday, July 11, 2015

Some Like It Wet

The garden near the woods is filled with plants that thrive on daily rainfall.  Both the corn and the potatoes seem to show new growth continuously.  These planting beds are five feet wide and two rows of potatoes were planted very close together.  Enough soil could be found to hill the outer edges twice.  Screened topsoil was shoveled between the rows to hill the center a second time.  Dried grass clippings now form the outer surface.  More clippings will be added later to prevent sun burn on potatoes near the surface.  Last year we harvested more potatoes than we could eat.  We really need to donate to the food bank following this harvest.

These purple flowers are growing on a variety called Colorado Rose.  It is an early red skinned potato with white flesh.  Holding certification as a Plant Variety Protection, we can grow it and use it for food but are prohibited from using our harvest as seed stock.  We were surprised to learn that these flowers are pleasantly scented.  All of the flowers have now been removed to encourage underground growth.

Canela Russet is another Plant Variety Protection potato.  We grew this variety last year and truly enjoyed the oblong uniform sized potatoes.  Its netted skin looks good even after the potatoes are baked.  Last year we failed to remove the flowers but the harvest was impressive despite our neglect.

This is our second year growing tobacco.  The catalog description warns about planting tobacco near tomatoes but is silent about the possible risk to potatoes.  Potato harvest is fairly close and the tobacco was just moved here from the pots where seed was started.  We will watch to see if any problems develop.  Government attempts to eliminate tobacco use by taxing the products exorbitantly  do nothing to address the hardship caused for addicted smokers with few funds.  We do not use tobacco products ourselves but grow it for someone else.  Government looks for drug crops from airplanes in this area.  Today I was overflown by a low helicopter.  It altered its path to get a closer look at just was is growing in this remote garden.  As far as I know, only the sale of our crop will put us at risk.  Since we give it away we should be legal for now.  If homegrown tobacco catches on, the tax man will closely follow.

Our basic garden plan here is to build stone paths between the planting beds using the stone that was removed from the soil.  Near the house, the glacier left more stone than soil.  Here the soil is almost free of stone and contains a fair amount of clay.  My path remains unfinished for lack of material but the clay soil holds sufficient moisture to carry the plants thru dry spells. Perhaps when the area to the right is developed, enough stone will be found there to finish the first section's path.

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