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Gardener's Grapevine 2016.04.20

on . Posted in Gardener's Grapevine

By JO ERBSKORN

This past weekend was indescribable. I’m not sure there are words for how beautiful the weather was.

Art and I had a promise to keep to our oldest grandson as he had succeeded at a rather big goal. The promise was that once he met his goal he got a trip to the playground and ice cream parlor in Jackson, Mich. He actually got to play at two playgrounds: Ella Sharp Park and Cascades Park. Both parks are great  places to relax or in our case chase a two-year-old. Apparently we weren’t the only ones with this idea as there were a lot of people enjoying the weather. This past year they restored the cascades and I cant wait to see them.

Art just spent the last two weeks tearing our rototiller apart, replacing seals and cleaning and sharpening the blades. Now we are ready to go. Let the tilling begin. 

Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates and a welcome addition to many meals. If stored correctly, they will last for many months in the winter. They are very versatile and are great on their own. They are a staple in most homes.

We start our potatoes as early as possible. This year we are planting Yukon gold, redskins, mini tri-colored and fingerling varieties.

Art tried something last year that  worked well and I would like to do it again and have an even bigger harvest. He built boxes out of pine, approximately 3 feet by 3 feet diameter and 6 inches tall to fill full of straw or/and dirt. Plant the potatoes in the boxes and let them grow. When they are six inches out of the ground put another box on top of the last and bury the plants with more straw and/or dirt until only six inches of foliage is sticking out of the ground. Let them grow again until another foot tall and do the same again, doing this five or six times.

When they are done blooming they are ready to harvest and you will have a very large yield due to the length of the roots. You can harvest a little or a lot or all at once.

Did you know if your potatoes in the kitchen start growing eyes that you can plant them? One potato can produce a bushel or more. An old farmer friend taught me that potatoes are one of the easiest things to grow. Take the potato, cut it into chunks, and make sure each chunk has an eye growing in it. Each chunk will make a plant. Plant the potato chunks so that the eye points up.

This friend told me you can grow potatoes in a five gallon bucket if you want to, right on your patio. When the foliage starts dying, dump the bucket and collect your harvest. One chunk of potato equals a dishpan full of potatoes. What’s to lose?

It’s time to plant taters and peas so get busy and get ready new potatoes and fresh peas creamed together oh yah. ​Something my grandmother made that I still make. 

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