My daughter, Kathy, grew vegetables for the first time last year and had bountiful harvest. So pleased with her success she is enthusiastically looking forward to this new gardening season even installed grow lights and started some veggies and flowers seedlings.
Last year she grew napa cabbage, bok choy, different varieties of tomatoes, Swiss chard, cucumber, beans, leeks, onions, celeriac, parsnips, pepper, etc. There was also asparagus (started by my son-in-law few years ago, prior to last year he was the veggie gardener and Kathy was the flower gardener).
Couple weeks ago she mentioned that her neighbor is planning to grow potatoes and I sensed she would like to give it a try. Since I have grown potatoes successfully in container in the past, I offered to start potatoes in a container for her as she lacks garden space but has a nice sunny patio.
While shopping at Home Depot came across some 6.87 gallons multi-purpose bins, just the size I was looking for, very sturdy and better yet has 2 handles and cost only $4.88 each, the only problem there is no drain hole. However using a utility knife I was able to solve the problem, needed a bit of force to cut through the plastic to make the 4 drain holes but it was doable.
I filled ¼ of the bin with a mixture of pro-mix, well composted cow manure, peat moss (potatoes prefer a low pH, 4.8-5.5) and organic granular fertilizer.
I placed on the surface an All Blue, an Adirondack Red and an Adirondack Blue potato.
To see cross sections of the above potatoes click HERE and scroll down.
As you can see from the first photo all 3 potatoes are sprouting. I will hill the plants as they grow so when my daughter comes to get the plants in a few weeks the bin will most likely be filled to near the top and all she needs to do is keep the plants well water. Potatoes need plentiful consistent moisture.
Click HERE for Cornell University Potatoes Growing Guide.
While I was at it, decided to push my luck and ask if she would like to grow a purple sweet potato in a container as well. Surprisingly she said “yes”.
I filled the bin with the same potting mix as the potatoes and placed 0ne (1) sweet potato slip in the middle then watered well. Also placed this bin on the driveway.
Our nighttime temperature is still too cold to leave the sweet potato plant outside so I will bring the bin into the garage at night and take it out during the day (the 2 handles make the job so much easier).
End of May is when I transplant my sweet potatoes into the garden.
Thinking: Planting the sweet potato slip in April in container and bringing the plant into the garage at night for protection will this extra time result in a better yield?
My daughter is a very organized and methodical individual she will most likely take notes and photos and give me progress reports of both the sweet potato and the potatoes. I will definitely give you an update about this experiment in a future post later in the year.
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End of last year I decided to leave some of my root crops in the garden and mulch heavily to see how they would fare through the winter.
The parsnips fared very well, all were in good usable condition. Harvest 7+ pounds. Shared with family and friends.
I braised a couple of them in broth to serve as a side, had a slightly sweet flavor and the texture was good not woody at all.
All the golden beets overwintered well. Harvest about 2 pounds, they are small, about the size of a golf ball. In the fridge for later use.
A few of the celeriac and lutz beets had soft spots at the leaf end so I discarded those. Boiled until tender a couple of the lutz beets, peeled, sliced and made a pickle with rice vinegar, a bit of salt and a bit of sugar, simple but good. May make borscht with the two remaining ones.
Haven’t used the celeriac yet may be this week, all 5 are in the fridge.
The leeks fared pretty well. The green parts on a few were a bit mushy but the white parts were good and firm and usable. Used the above 2 in a stew. There are still 5 good looking ones and a few not so good looking ones in the garden.
Will dig them up this week as I need the bed for my Swiss chard.
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Yay! Spring has finally arrived and hopefully here to stay.
The hellebores, though late in arriving this year, are gorgeous, I have white ones and various shades of pink ones.
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