The big day has come! Its a bit soggy out there but I think we'll be fine. Maybe. We'll see.. It is just exciting to finally get to plant something in the garden!
Every year we plant potatoes on (or near) St. Patricks day - and sometimes onion sets too.. and peas! (though it is too early for little onion plants - i learned this the hard way last year - but you can plant 'sets', the little bulbs, now)
This year, our primary potato bed will be a variation of a Ruth Stout style bed. The Ruth Stout method of gardening involves very little digging and no tilling! For potatoes, we made a bed of deep (8-10") hay and bedding from our goat houses in the Fall. THAT IS IT! - (Here is a good overview, with videos and a book list to learn about Ruth Stout gardening)
To plant out seed potatoes, we will rake back the hay, and place the potatoes on the ground and cover them back up! Ruth Stout = THAT EASY!
In the past, we've used other methods of planting potatoes.
Potatoes can be planted in a variety of containers, from buckets, to rubbermaid bins - hampers, to raised garden beds. They can also be planted in a 4" deep trench. We've had a lot of luck with the trench, but it can be a lot of work to dig in our rocky soil. Many people suggest that you should mound soil or hay around your potato plants, forcing them to grow taller and make more potatoes. I've not had great results with this method in the past. I like to plant my potatoes close enough together that they shade out the weeds between them, and then just let them do their thing!
However you plant them. You know its time to dig up your potatoes when the plants die off. This usually happens in July. Just make sure you don't miss any, or you'll have potatoes next year too! We've been dealing with volunteer potatoes in our garden since we moved to our farm. Someone planted them years ago, and even though we try to dig them all up, they still come up every year. (not a horrible problem to have, but they come up in the aisles and other inconvenient places)
You can also get started with sweet potatoes this time of year. They are grown differently than regular potatoes and are more sensitive to cold. Find an (organic) sweet potato at the store (or in your pantry), if you wait long enough they'll sprout (as seen below) to speed up the process, place the sweet potato half way in a cup of water in a sunny window. Once you have spouts, you can break them off and root them in water. Once they are rooted you can plant them directly into their final location, or keep them in a small container for a while before transplanting. Sweet potatoes have attractive vines and can be grown in flower pots or as part of your landscape. One sweet potato can grow many slips! Just break them off and put it back in the water and often more will come.
Check out our instagram stories, if you miss it - I will put potato planting pictures in the Garden 2020 story highlights!
2020 Seed starting has begun!
well, actually it already began a few weeks ago when I started onions (which are doing great so far!),
yesterday I started 12 flats of flowers!
Most of flowers will be going in our 1/4 acre U-Pick flower garden. Snapdragons, Sweet Peas, Pansies, and multi-colored pastel Yarrow (we have TONS of white yarrow that grows wild on the farm!) as well as 6 flats of native wildflowers (honestly not sure where exactly I'll put those!) In the grand scheme of things this isn't that much, and it is only the beginning - but it was nice to get started! The new greenhouse is not yet completed and the old one maxes out at about 2 dozen flats! I can squeeze in a few more on the floor but we're just about at capacity! Fingers crossed for good weather.
Are you interested in spring flower seed starting? Here are some tips for you!
Snap dragon seeds are TINY - where your glasses! and more importantly, they require light to germinate so make sure you do NOT cover them! Yarrow also needs light to germinate (and also has a tiny seed!) !
Pansy seeds are also tiny (though well over twice the size of snapdragon seeds) and they require darkness to germinate! this may sound simple, but last year I had no idea and couldn't figure out why I had such a hard time with both of these growing in the same tray.
Sweet Peas prefer more space in their pots than I was able to give them (they need more room for their roots! fingers crossed this works!) and they also tend to germinate faster if you soak the seeds for 24 hours before planting.
Who knew I'd need new glasses to be a flower farmer? I'm off to get a new prescription this week!
Like every garden enthusiast in January, I am itching to get things growing. Looking at pictures from last year, my first year growing in my little greenhouse. It was fabulous. This year will be 1000x better - because I will be growing at least that many more plants! This year I’ll be adding lower shelves with LED light strips to start more seedlings in the greenhouse. It’s an addictive thing, gardening.
here are some more pictures from 2019 ..