Sunday, August 7, 2011

Harvesting Spuds + First Ripe Tomato!

Today was a big harvest day, above average zucchini yield (about 3 pounds), plus we decided to dig into the first gunny sack we planted with potatoes and see what we got.

Here's how it looked on day 1, potato planting day, which was around the 1st of May.

After 2 weeks, we had some leaves showing.

After a couple more weeks, we were ready to start unrolling the sack so we could add more dirt.

We did two batches of gunny sack potatoes. For the first we used an old sack I'd been storing in the garage for a long time. In that one, we planted fingerling potatoes and a few Yukon golds. For the second batch, we used a brand new gunny sack and planted bakers. About the second time we unfolded the old sack to add more dirt, it began to fall apart, rotting. Therefore, we were never able to fill it as per the plan.

Today, Robin decided to see and harvest whatever was produced in the three layers of dirt. The other sack is still going strong, filled to the brim and not yet dying off.

Here's what we got.  And see that one little cherry tomato?  It's our first ripe tomato!!! Sweet as can be! We ate some of the fingerlings for dinner tonight. Delicious!!!

Here's what we learned. Don't use old gunny sacks for growing potatoes. We stopped watering when the tops started to bloom. We think it would be better to keep watering them until the tops turn yellow and collapse. There were more than 50 potatoes about the size of a pea or slightly larger, willing and able to grow into something big enough to eat. It's all an experiment for us. One thing to try next year is to plant the spuds with a little more dirt beneath them. Maybe not watering, but waiting longer to harvest would be a good thing too. We'll do it a little differently with the other sack and see how that goes.

Here's our one ripe tomato.  More on the way soon. Lots more!

And here is the still unharvested gunny sack; only now it's totally unrolled, filled with dirt all the way to the top. What does it hold? How many spuds will we get? Keep tuned for the answer to that one...

Harvesting and Planting

Never saw such a huge tomato plant! It's a cherry tomato and supposed to be small... must be 5' x 5'! Has lots of blossoms. If the weather stays warm, we're going to be begging neighbors to take them, along with the zucchinis.

For a long time we had no sets. At the suggestion of our gardener-friend-neighbor, we bought some blossom set. Seems to have done the job. Or maybe it's just that we finally had some sunny days. Now there are lots of these little green balls. Green tomato omelets with Jarlsberg cheese are pretty tasty, but we hope at least some of them ripen.

Note about watering: All the troughs are now taking at least some water in the 4" bottom reservoir each day. The tomato-zucchini trough takes a LOT.  A couple of weeks ago, we stopped top watering in that trough completely. The plants are thriving, so we assume their roots are well tapped into the reservoir. We still do light top-watering in the other three troughs, especially because of the winter-crop seedlings. 

Robin planted the first of our winter-crop seeds on July 25th. By row number from front to back, these seedlings are:
  1. Left: spinach, Center: butterhead lettuce, Right, Romaine lettuce
  2. Toscana kale
  3. flat of Egypt beets

On July 29th, she planted more winter crop seeds... top left: beets; center left: kale, center: broccoli, right: carrots. We made a special trip to South Beach to get white pebbles to mark the trough.

These are the breakfast radishes. Like the beets, they push above the surface of the dirt rather than grow down. We don't know if that's normal or not. Doesn't seem to hurt them. They're slightly more "peppery" than the cherry radishes. The second crop, planted about 2 weeks after these is coming along nicely.

We harvested our first carrot today! It's not so big. Guess we'll wait a while longer to harvest any more of them.

The squash is going crazy! Robin harvested our first acorn squash (two more almost ready), our third eight ball squash and we stopped counting the zucchinis. For dinner tonight, we had fresh sliced zucchini, radishes and the one carrot to dip in blue cheese dressing with our pizza.