Salsa!

Yesterday I decided to make a couple batches of salsa for canning. Never mind the fact that it was hot and humid and that I had just spent the last few hours at a baby shower. The red velvet cupcake was delicious, by the way. No, I had so many ripe tomatoes on the counter and one shelf of the refrigerator devoted to a huge bag of tomatillos so something had to be done.

The Co-Conspirator had put in a request for a tomato salsa after my last round of tomato canning. I guess it was feared I’d put up all the tomatoes plain and there wouldn’t be any left for salsa. It’s a legitimate concern since I tend to get going one direction and just keep going. Inertia works both ways with me, just as with the rest of the universe. But I digress.

I selected a recipe, Fresh Vegetable Salsa, from Ball’s “Complete Book of Home Preserving,” a more comprehensive canning bible than the classic “Blue Book Guide to Preserving.” After a couple big (for me) sessions of canning tomatoes I’ve gotten pretty good at peeling and cutting up tomatoes so the veg prep went quickly enough. I simmered the salsa per the instructions while I brought the water in the canner up to a boil. I decided while the simmering was happening that I might as well do a batch of tomatillo, too. Getting a canner full of water boiling is an undertaking it seemed sensible to take advantage of an already hot pot. Maybe some day with a little help I can do a real marathon session of different products.

For the tomatillo salsa I wanted to use the same recipe I used last year. It was good and we are just finishing up our last jar. Did I make a note of it? Of course not! My best guess is that it was the Tomatillo Green Salsa from the Wisconsin Safe Food Preservation Series, which I have the printed booklet versions of in its entirety, thankyouverymuch. I did make two changes to the recipe, something that should be done rarely and carefully with canning recipes. Since our jalapenos are so hot I I used green bell pepper instead of the additional long green chilies and I substituted lime juice for lemon juice. I looked around online and it looks like the bottled stuff is pH adjusted the same as lemon is. Unfortunately, the section of frozen lemon and lime juice that I like has gone entirely missing from our grocery store. I was in a hurry so I grabbed a bottle of ReaLime. That may have been a mistake. When I poured it in the salsa I took a whiff. It smelled more like lime candy than actual limes. I was suckered by the label. It says “100% Lime Juice.” What I missed was the “from concentrate with other added ingredients” under that. I think the lime peel oil they jack it up with may be a bit much. We’ll find out when it’s mellowed in the jar for a while and we taste it.

Anyway, the timing worked well enough. While the tomato salsa was processing in the canner I got the tomatillo version simmering. The tomato batch was out of the canner and on the counter with lids popping as I was loading the tomatillo version into the hot water. From beginning to end it took about three hours, including washing all the pots, pans and utensils while the last jars processed.

August Salsa

This has been a good summer for canning. So far I’ve got a batch of our favorite Bread-and-Butter pickles put up, about half the whole tomatoes I’d like to have before winter, and now a couple kinds of salsa. In addition to the additional tomatoes, I want to make the tomatillo salsa again, this time using either just lemon juice or a mix of the good lemon and lime juice if I can find it. We eat a lot of salsa so I may try a different recipe, perhaps one using some of the home-smoked chipotle peppers we’ve get lying around. Now if only the weather would moderate a little from less sauna-like conditions!

“Who taught you to garden?”

“Who taught you to garden?” That’s the question posed on the back cover of Augustus Jenkins Farmer’s “Deep-Rooted Wisdom: Skills and Stories from Generations of Gardeners.” I picked up a copy of this recent book from the library to read on our camping vacation and, thanks to some rainy weather, I’ve already finished it. I don’t buy gardening books anymore and few of the ones I’ve borrowed from the library have provided much of interest for experienced gardeners. I think what drew me to this particular book was a description I read somewhere that characterized this as other than a typical how-to gardening book. I wasn’t disappointed.

Deep Rooted WisdomThe book is comprised of eleven chapters all following the same format: First, the author describes an old skill or idea. Second he answers for himself the “who taught you to garden” question as he writes about two people–different in each chapter–who were among the teachers and mentors he learned the skill or idea from. Finally, he describes how the chapter’s topic can be adapted for gardening today. The first ten chapters are about relatively specific things like watering by hand, building soil or rooting cuttings.

The final chapter is a bit more conceptual dealing with “telling stories through your garden.” At first I was worried he was going to advocate for strictly recreating the historic gardens and landscapes of a place since he lives in the South, an area with a rich, long, land-linked history he references often. But that made no sense in the context of the previous chapter on pest philosophy. He ends that chapter with a significant treatment of the Buddhist perspective on interdependence and coexistence. Strict historicism wouldn’t be in keeping with the Buddhist concept of non-attachment and letting go of the past. And, indeed, he doesn’t go that route. Nor does he insist on only using native plants, though they play a large role in his gardens. Instead he encourages looking to a place’s history, people and biology to inform a garden’s design. That’s as much as I’ll dare to try to paraphrase Farmer’s idea.

I do highly recommend you read this book if you’re at all interested in designing and gardening from a simpler, more connected place rooted in the past but adaptable to the present. Personally it left me feeling inspired and confirmed my feeling that I’m on the right path in my own gardening efforts. It’s fortunate that I am nestled in at a campsite hundreds of miles from my gardens or I would have been running out after every paragraph to see how I could apply what I’d read. The book also reminded me how disappointing it was that in my fifteen years of designing gardens and landscapes professionally I was never once called upon to do a design that was either interesting or meaningful for a client or friend. Those days are behind me now and I couldn’t be happier about it. I am also happy to have found a gardening book that was both practically useful and philosophically engaging.

Have you come across a gardening book that hit the sweet spot between the common how-to and the purely philosophical? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Late July to Early August in the Garden

Sunflower

What says summer more than a bee visiting the wide open spaces of a sunflower? I’ll tell you what—heat, mosquitoes and thunderstorms. At this point in the year we’re low the first two of those but it is finally raining nicely even as I write this.

The garden has hit that point in the year where I get to carry the occasional weighty load back to the car. Some croppage more serious than handfuls of salad fixins has been coming in. Warning: Lots to share so lots of pictures below! But don’t worry, we’ll pause for tea after a bit.

Tater Damage

Starting in the potato corner, here is one of the chewed up plants. I haven’t found any Colorado potato beetles but there were some slugs seen, probably the result of burying the plants in leaf mulch and straw to get tubers along the stems. Since the plants were looking on their last legs, er, roots I dug around with my hand in the box and discovered once again the box method didn’t work. Red Norlands, the type shown here,  aren’t an indeterminate variety. One more try next year with the right variety and then I go to a more traditional technique if that doesn’t work.

Taters

In my digging, I did find a nice handful on top of the soil below all the mulch. They made a delicious grilled accompaniment to some salmon.

Tomatillo1

Next to the tomato box and overshadowing it is my towering tomatillo. I grew it upward with the help of a cage, some bamboo poles and twine. It’s almost as tall as me and threatening to tip over.

Tomatillo2

Look at that beautiful, fat fruit! I’m going to have plenty for all the salsa, enchilada sauce, chili and curries I want to make. I wonder how many beginning gardeners have ever wondered if one tomatillo plant would be enough.

Manduka

What was not entirely beautiful was the hornworm caterpillar I found creeping about the tomatillo. Yes, they’re amazing and turn into big, beautiful moths, but I tossed it on the path. They’re so big I can’t bring myself to squish them.

Mint Pot

The last couple of times I harvested mint I was noticing there were two kinds growing in the sunken, bottomless pot. One had thick, rough leaves and the other had thinner, narrower leaves. Unfortunately the second kind was growing more vigorously than the first which I prefer for food and beverage applications. I dug the whole thing up and selected out the preferred variety and replanted it with some delicious (to a mint plant) compost.

Wis Lakes

The peppers are really suffering from the lack of heat I mentioned above. Plants are about half the size I would expect at this time. I even fertilized carefully before I planted them. They’re just very slow. A shot of epsom salts greened them up a bit but that’s all. This Wisconsin Lakes plant did put up one big fruit but with inadequate foliage it got sunburned. That’s something you need to watch out for with peppers but not everyone thinks about this with a heat-loving crop. I’ve harvested a couple of bright red jalapenos but they have absolutely no heat to them.

Hot Hulia

This pepper, on the other hand, seems to be doing fine. This whole plant, including the pointy fruit is only four inches tall! I call it “Hot Hulia” because my friend Julia gave it to me for my birthday nearly a year ago. It was taller then, but I brought it through winter indoors and it died back a bit on the top. Doubtless it was sold as an ornamental plant, but I harvested and dried the peppers and they are HOT! I’m going to make a chili powder with them when I get around to it.

Amish Paste

The tomatoes are right on the brink of producing enough fruit to start canning. I did peel, core and freeze a small container the other day to save for a big canning session and soon there will be more to join them. The Honey Bunch cherry tomatoes are producing enough for a salad every couple of days and the Chocolate Cherry is about to take off, as well.

Black Trifele

These are the tomatoes that have me most excited, though. They’re my first Japanese Black Trifele, a Russian variety despite the name. I’m letting them get perfectly ripe on the counter before tasting them. They’re reputed to have outstanding flavor. In just the few days since I picked these they’ve gotten beautifully dark. I think tonight’s the night.

Basil

The basil is doing OK. The Thai and lemon varieties, which we don’t eat much, are doing much better than the Genovese, which we do. Still, haven’t made any pesto yet. The odd leaf or two has made it into a salad or other dish now and then.

Beans3

Here come the beans! Despite scattered reports of Mexican Bean Beetles throughout the gardens they apparently didn’t get a foothold like a couple years ago. Yay! And now the pods are ripening and drying and the plants are dying back. At least the bush beans are, the pole beans are still going strong. I’ve harvested almost all the Pinto beans and a few Great Northerns so far.

Peanuts

In other leguminous news, the peanuts seem to be doing better than the last update but not great. I’m blaming the cool weather on this, too. There have been a few more flowers but I doubt I’ll try growing these again, at least not without better soil and maybe some early warming technique like black plastic.

Compost Tea

Halfway through the beds it’s time to stop for tea. Manure tea, that is. I’m steeping some composted manure in water which will be diluted and fed to select plants like the peppers and tomatoes, probably starting this week. I’ve heard it works wonders.

Beets

Adjacent to the compost buckets the latest planting of beets is struggling along. They’re competing with their Cousin Chard for light and I think I planted them just when it stopped raining regularly. Frankly I’m surprised they’re still alive.

Sweet Tater

Another crop suffering from the weather is the beloved sweet potato. When I planted them it was nice and hot and then the temps dropped the next week and stayed comfortably low. Another crop I’ll consider carefully in the future whether I want to chance it. Although, I guess anything I grow has a chance of receiving less than ideal weather. Note to self: Plant a selection of crops that take a variety of weather scenarios so something will do well.

Oca Cilantro

I’ve been transplanting cilantro seedlings into random open spots like here among the struggling oca. Cilantro’s a cool weather plant so I’ve been able to grow it later than usual this year, but it still seems to go from seeding to flowering plant over night. Another plant I’ve been surprised by is my broccoli. It’s still putting out little, harvestable florets. In August!

Squash

The Bush Delicata squash is doing great, better than its cucumber cousins who are succumbing to something after getting off to such a great start. The label you can see here is made from a piece of aluminum window blind. I write on them with those little paint pens and though the colors fade some, they can last right through winter. There’s your tip for the day. I use paint pens for anything that goes outside now instead of Sharpies and they last way better.

Malabar Spinach

The Malabar spinach has finally decided to climb and is now above the leaves of the squash. I’ve munched on a couple of leaves and they’re OK. They do taste like spinach but the texture is a little different. Soon I’ll find an appropriate recipe and make something with it and report back. I’m open to suggestions!

Sprouts

Look! The Brussels sprouts are sprouting sprouts! I have two plants, planted too close together, of course. We’re going to have lots of them this year. Thank goodness they freeze well. My family and co-workers may get these instead of honey for Xmas this year. Similar enough, right?

Red Zepellin

All the Sweet Spanish Yellow onions have been pulled and are curing and now most of the Red Zeppelin have come in. A few are still standing strong, but…

Open Ground

…that left some open ground. Notice two things. First, it’s unplanted but not bare. I keep mulch everywhere to prevent weeds from getting started. Second, it doesn’t look like this anymore because I planted something else right away. Keep that soil working! Romaine lettuce, broccoli, and two kinds of bok choy have gone in as wee seedlings I started in the basement.

OK, we’ve completed the tour of what’s interesting in the garden. Would you like another cup of the tea? No? Oh, I see you haven’t touched the first one. No worries.

Unknown Flower

Before you go take a look at this pretty flower growing by the community compost area. I have no idea what it is. There are several colors of it and it looks great, in my opinion. If you know it’s identity, share in the comments before you go. Please leave your mug by the bucket and have a pleasant rest of the day!

“If the bee disappeared…man would have only four years left…”

Grower:

Artist Douglas Moore has created a stunning image of a bee on a thistle that he shares along with some information about the decline of bees. Check it out!

Originally posted on Moorezart:

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”
― Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee

.
Its summer time and I thought I would post this image of “Thistle and Bee”.  When I created this artwork of a thistle with its prickly points and a bumble bee with its furry suit I was unaware of the crisis the world’s  bee population faces.

And so I’m sharing this image first, because I find  thistles and company beautiful, and second so that you might take a moment to see the links below – describing what’s happening to the bee populations as well as its consequences upon us all.

thistle and bee for saleYou’ve probably heard about the problems facing honey bees across North America. If not, this Time Magazine article will introduce you to the topic:  http://time.com/559/the-plight-of-the-honeybee

View original 124 more words

Truth in Labeling

You pay your money and you take your chances.

Not Amish Paste

I was so excited to pick my first reddening-up “big” tomato yesterday. I’ve gotten a few little cherry types so far and most of the plants are setting fruit but this is the first of the non-cherries to show color. It stood out among the  others in the bed like a beacon. Stood out a little too much, in fact. It was in the Amish Paste bed. Well, I thought, maybe I mixed some other tomatoes in for variety. Nope. I checked my plan and it’s supposed to be Amish Paste but there’s no way it is.

Amish Paste

These are real Amish Paste from a few years ago, back when I was growing them from seed. That’s the key, I guess. This year all my seed-started tomatoes and peppers were a failure so I had to resort to buying plants. I can’t recall where I got this mislabeled one. It could have been mixed up by the grower or a careless shopper could have accidentally swapped the label. In any case, it’s renewed my determination to start my own plants next year from reliable seed sources. Now I just hope my Mystery ‘Mater tastes good because it looks like it’s going to be productive.

Early-Mid July Garden Update

Calendula

Sunny, day-glo greetings from Plot 206! I know I just did a general update a couple of weeks ago, but as every gardener knows, at this time of year so much is happening. The Calendula are blooming, for example. This hot orange beauty was self-seeded from last year’s. I just moved around the seedlings I found as needed and it turns out they’re all this bright, happy orange. Much as I like the color, I’ll try to remember to start some more for a mix next year. Not all insects might be big fans of this particular shade.

Romaine

And now for some bad news. We left town for a long weekend and took a head of our awesome Romaine lettuce with us expecting to come home and enjoy the remaining three heads. Not to be. They’re bolting so into the compost they went and beets were sown in their place.

Beets

And speaking of beets, look at these! I pulled a few of the red and gold to roast for a salad. I love beets.

Carrots

Further on the subject of colorful roots. I pulled a few carrots, Yellowstone and Atomic Red. The color of the latter so far appears to have been greatly exaggerated in the catalogs. I’ll let some get really big and see if that makes a difference. To be honest, the flavor of both of these is unimpressive. Carroty but not especially sweet. Might do better cooked.

Blueberries

Ready for a break from the hot colors? How about these blue beauties? The blueberry bushes were looking a little peaked so I gave them an acid boost a while back. It will be a while before they’re back up to snuff but thanks to the row cover to keep the birds off we were able to harvest nearly a pint. Not a lot, I know, but they’re OURS.

Let’s see what else is going on…

Bush Beans

Pole Beans

Peas

The pole and bush beans are going crazy and the peas are on their last pods and starting to brown. Again, loving the Sugar Snaps. Even when they’re filled with full-sized peas you can eat them pod and all and they’re crunchy and sweet with only a little, easily-removed string.

Caterpillar

The peas are host to this fuzzy visitor. It doesn’t even matter if he’s munching the plants because they’ll be gone soon. I suppose for the sake of science I should make a little effort to find out who he is.

Cucumbers

This was a big surprise. Seven-inch cucumbers! The plant itself is not much bigger than a dinner plate at this point so I wasn’t checking it for fruit yet.

Onions

Over in the onion bed every yellow onion was laying down and every red one still standing. Uniformity in a cultivar, I guess. We pulled all the yellows and they are now happily curing on the patio. I’d like to add, we’re still using last year’s onions, one went into tonight’s dinner, in fact. It’s just cool that we’ve done a year without having to buy onions. I think I planted fewer this time so we may not be able to repeat that accomplishment going into 2015, but at least we know we can do it.

Malabar

The Malabar spinach is coming along suddenly, or one plant is. I’d be interested in hearing what other people’s experience has been growing and eating this particular vegetable. They’re on a three-sided tee-pee around the squash with the idea that they’d grow up above it and not be shaded by it but the squash is growing much faster…

Squash

The Bush Delicata has had several blossoms and is forming its first fruit. Like most plants it kind of poked along and then, seemingly overnight, doubled in size.

Tomatillo

A favorite crop I forgot to mention last time is the tomatillo. Since it got so wide and rangy last year I’m confining it in a light bondage contraption consisting of a tomato cage and bamboo. It doesn’t seem to be suffering from the treatment and is covered with blossoms and swelling husks. I think we’re eating out of our last jar of tomatillo salsa so we should be getting fruit just in time. Salsa, enchilada sauce, curries—I can’t wait!

Tomatoes

And now the excitement builds…Red tomatoes! They’re not fully ripe, but this small handful of Honey Bunch counts, in my mind, as the first tomatoes of the season. (I need to find a more convincing garden hand model. Those callus-free hands are just not doing it.) But is this the MOST exciting development? Perhaps not…

Neighbor

Yup, this is half of the neglected neighboring plot with waist-high weeds going to seed all over the place. While we were out of town it was surrendered, divided in two and reassigned. The gardeners with the half next to us (you can see our Malabar spinach tee-pee there on the left) got to work right away and I couldn’t be happier. OK, I could be a little happier. Someone was there when I went up last evening and had borrowed my hose without asking. She was apologetic and I was friendly and complimentary of the work she’d done even as I commented she’d be getting her own hose soon, no doubt.

Thanks for coming on this little tour with me. I hope the mosquitoes weren’t too bad. Surprisingly as they’re horrible everywhere else this year I hardly get bitten while in the garden. I do appreciate that you take the time to stop here and read and comment and I enjoy my (almost) daily ritual of catching up on all the gardening blogs I follow. I think we learn so much from each other and as little as I get around to doing it, I appreciate the work that goes into these things. Keep up the good work and happy gardening!

Late June Garden Update

I haven’t posted anything about what’s growing lately and reading other bloggers’ reports has inspired me to put together a little update. In general, I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the way most of the garden is progressing at this point. In fact, it’s been a few days since I took most of these pictures and the change in that short time is amazing.

Herbs

Starting at the entrance, most of the herbs are doing well. The Greek oregano has been blooming like crazy and is encroaching on the lemongrass and fernleaf lavender at its sides. The latter has been a disappointment and I wouldn’t buy it again. The leaves smell more medicinal than the French lavender I grew last year. Across the path the potted mint is going strong and has contributed to a number of  refreshing Mojitos already.

Pepper2

Pepper

The various chilis and bell peppers have begun setting fruit and it’s developing quickly. I hope the sunflower fence fills in soon. These are right by the main path and dangerously visible at the moment.

Tomato Flower

Tomato

The tomatoes are blooming and I’ve seen bumblebees around so it’s no surprise they are also setting fruit. My plan to prune less and grow bigger plants is resulting in a lot more tying. I’m going to have to cut up more shirts soon.

Parsley

The bush and pole beans are growing and flowing all over the place now. My fears of another Mexican bean beetle invasion haven’t been realized so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  To my surprise all of the tiny parsley seedlings I set out next to these beans all survived. They were being overgrown so I tied the beans back a bit. I hope to have some for tabouleh and some to lure black swallowtails.

Pea2

The Sugar Snap peas have grown to the top of their five-foot trellis and I have to pick at least every other day to keep ahead of them.  We’ve been munching on them almost daily and I’ve had enough to take a few small bags in to my co-workers. I probably could have frozen some but they’re so much better fresh. This winter I’ll probably wish I had.

Peanut Flower

Recognize this flower? Its shape and the fact that we’re in the legume portion of the tour are clues.

Peanuts

These are the peanuts the Co-Conspirator requested. They’re looking OK but I was expecting more growth at this point. Maybe when it really heats up.  Something, possibly a coyote or one of the Sandhill Cranes that wander the gardens, dug around between a couple of the the plants twice but now seems to be leaving that spot alone.

Bolted Greens

In the Miscellaneous bed the leaf lettuces and spinach were bolting so I pulled them out and hauled them to the compost.

Romaine

The Romaine, on the other hand, is just heading up and still tastes great. We’ve been eating a bit at home and I’ve also shared heads with my colleagues. This one is definitely going on the “must grow again” list.

Blueberries

At the end of this particular Miscellaneous bed the blueberry bushes are starting to set some fat fruit. I put some sulfur somethingorother on the soil to try to acidify it again. The telltale chlorosis showing in the leaves here means the soil has gotten too alkaline again, a perennial problem in our area. I’ll be putting a tent of row cover over them soon to protect them from birds.

Oca

In the next Miscellaneous bed the oca has been a real disappointment. Probably only half, at most, of the tubers sprouted and only a couple of those are sending out any runners to speak of. I may dig up the unsprouted ones and see what condition they’re in.

Bush Delicata

Next to the oca, the Bush Delicata squash is doing much better. It got its first flower this week. I love this variety. It doesn’t sprawl all over, it produces fruit that are just the right size for two people, and they store well for comfort-food winter meals.

Malabar

At the poles surrounding the Bush Delicata the Malabar spinach is taking its sweet time taking off. Maybe it’s also waiting for hot weather. This is the only one of the first transplants to survive so I started another round that I set out last week. I tasted a leaf from it and thought it was spinachy enough to keep trying to grow it.

Cucumber Flower

In the next Miscellaneous bed the bush cucumber is slightly ahead of the Bush Delicata in the Bush League contest. Little spiny cukes are forming and the leaves are still free of mildew despite the wet weather we’ve been having. Fingers crossed.

Carrots

The carrots are coming along, at least the ones that germinated. My old Danvers Half Long seed must have been too old (hence the expression “old Danvers Half Long seed”) so at this point we only have Yellowstone and Atomic Red actually growing. We pulled and sampled a few babies of each already and I’m a little disappointed that the red ones aren’t red. Maybe in time. I purchased new DHL seed and have sown a short row where some more leaf lettuce came out.

Broccoli

Broccoli! We actually got broccoli! My past attempts to grow it in the spring have been complete failures and fall planting only slightly better. After harvesting the main head from each of the three plants they produced small, usable side heads, too. The flavor was good, too. I guess it’s a lesson in persistence. The Brussels sprouts next to them are doing well, too.

Garlic

The garlic is tall and strong looking bigger than I remember it being in the past. We’ve harvested the scapes and made a batch of hummus with them and now the leaves are starting to show brown tips. In the next few weeks they’ll brown some more and we can pull them and start curing them for storage. I’d like to note here that we are still eating from last year’s garlic crop, though the cloves are getting a little wrinkly. That probably won’t be the case next summer since I didn’t plant as much this time around. I’ll have to look at my records and see how much there was before and use that as a target for this fall’s planting.

Sweet Potato Hole

Next to the garlic I removed the overwintered onions. They were bolting but I managed to get a tasty French onion soup out of them. In their place I dug wide holes, lined them with hardware cloth to keep out critters and planted…

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes! I had run into a couple of neighbors who also garden at Eagle Heights just after they had finished planting their sweet potatoes. When I mentioned I’d never grown them, the next thing I knew I had a few starts, some advice and was making wire cages. I love sweet potatoes so I’m excited about the prospect of harvesting my own.

Onion

The Spanish onions are starting to fatten up. Like the garlic, we’re still eating out of last year’s crop. Also like the garlic, I think I’ve planted less than last year. Perhaps in time I’ll get the numbers properly recorded so I know just how much to grow to get us through a year. Excess of most crops is good, though, because then there are more opportunities for cooking or canning special food projects.

Leeks

The leeks are starting to look like leeks at last. For the longest time they were just green strings but sometime in the last month when I wasn’t paying attention they put out some flat, leekish leaves. I’m growing them in a cedar box that I intend to slowly fill with compost to see if I can get them to grow long and white.

Potato Box

In the next bed over, the potatoes are also growing in their boxes and they’ve already passed the tops.  I probably could have put on another section and should make one to be ready next year. This is my second attempt at burying potato plants as they grow to get them to form easily-harvested tubers aboveground. Last year’s try didn’t work so I did it differently this year, gradually adding the leaf mulch/compost as they got taller rather than burying a whole plant.

Potato Buds

Can’t wait to see if it worked and I may not have to wait long since some of them are starting to flower.

Sunflowers

This brings us to the end of the tour at the sunflower fence, growing into its job of discouraging poachers. If you’ve read this far, I thank you for staying. I enjoy reading about the progress of others’ gardens so I believe there may be someone out there who feels the same. Please return your audio guides here and exit through the gift shop where I’m sure you’ll find something to take home with you.

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