Saturday, July 16, 2016

Gardening with Potato's

Potato's yet another garden challenge. It is coming to my attention that the problem is not the soil or the water or the tools. It is me.
The beauty of that is the mistakes I make I learn so much.

The little potato's you see to the left are my first crop. Small but wonderful and the 2 pds. of butter just made it better!

I have tried a few different trick's to grow them. My first thing was a Potato Tower. I saw this idea in Mother Earth and also in Sunset magazine. Both worked great but not for me. You should try it. I am going to give you my experience . strength and hope ....that you can do it!

The first thing you need are potato's. there is a lot of conversation on pre-ordering or just taking a potato and letting it grow in the pantry. I have done both and they both worked.

 What ever you choose you need to let them grow the little sprouts on them. Like the picture to your left.Put them in a brown paper bag into a cupboard.

Once they grow you cut the potato's so the sprouts are left on each piece. Lay the potato's on a flat surface. I used a cookie sheet.

You want two to three eye's per piece.

Give your potato's a few day to shrivel up.
The sprout will stay fine.

While this whole process is coming about you can prepare your dirt. Either Potato Tower or just plant them.

I did pick a spot where we can do both the tower and the ground.
To make the tower you will need:

Reed Screen - Bamboo
Stakes to secure wire
Wire to make tower's

The first thing you need to make is a tower. You can follow the pictures rather than me explaining each step. Use your own judgement to make the size that best suit's your area.

I put my tower in a garden already tiled it is lined with old wine bottles from when my mama use to live with us. The reason I put it there is that I have just enough space to put some of the potato's into the ground.

See how the wire cylinder is shaped round.

With the stakes around it to keep it in place.

Now here you see that I am going to start the layering process. The little ditch next to it is where the ground potato's will be planted.

Line your tower with straw and put a layer of dirt into the tower. On top of that layer place potato's close to the wall of the tower. They only need to be next to the straw they will find there way through.

Here are a few tips on potato planting out of the tower.  Plant them 6" deep and 12" apart. As the plant grows you need to add soil to the stock to protect the tubers from sunlight. The potatoes start to form after the flowers bloom. 

Keep the process going straw, dirt, potatoes, straw, dirt, potato's.
No need to pack them they will do it naturally.

This is my area about two weeks after I first planted the tower and the ground. Notice the little green of the potato's coming through the tower.

The ground potato's are doing well also.

Here is a post that gives you a lot more information on the potatoes and the how to with regards to growing them.

Oregon State University  
their link has a good amount of information for you.  

You can see how the potato bush sprung out of the tower.I wish i had mre to post on this subject but it really is an easy project. Here is a link to the Burpee site for ordering potato's also if you are all organic you could go check out Seeds Saver's. I get a lot of stuff from them also. But at this point in the season they are sold out of potatoes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

American Robin

American Robin this was a surprise bird this year. One day Pa and I went out to the yard and our berry bush was covered with them. These birds were hanging upside down right side up. The driveway, the fountain they had the yard under control.

They seemed to be after the berries on the bush. They had never landed here before in over 10 years. Once they polished off the berries they headed for the Pepper Tree's.

They did take advantage of the fountains we have.

Here is the best site I found so far. This site the Audubon has all the information and sounds of them chirping and singing. Sweet!

Wish I had filmed them but there is always next year.

These are the berries that they went nutty for. Go figure not like we just put the darn thing in. ell enjoy the birds my friend

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cedar Waxwings

Well my yard has become quite the refuge for birds of all kinds. This year we got this new bird not familiar to us. It is a Cedar Waxwing. 

Well actually that is an understatement there were at least 100 in our yard. That is no exaggeration. We have berry bushes and a hugh Pepper Tree. Also we have three different fountains for them to frolic in. They do love water it is said. 

Look at the  picture to the right. The tail is bright yellow.
So pretty. I really enjoyed the time they spent in my yard.

They swoop down in groups of 10 or more and go into the little fountain. The information said they do love water.

They would just sit in the tree and enjoy the day. They eat the peppers off the pepper tree.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Why doesn't my soil absorb water?

This has been my issue for the last month I have a beautiful raised bed that I had put in for a birthday task from my son. It has grown vegetables and flowers great ever year. This last year 2014 I did not plant, there was to much stuff going on in personal area's. So this year I just planted some snap pea's.

They dried up even watering them. Then I popped in some cucumbers they to dried up. I was watering and watering as much as possible but no go! Shit so now I am mad at my raised bed and I have top find some answer's.

To the Web my friend to the web!

I googled Why dosent my soil absorbe water ?

Some answer's are as follows:

The soil has to much peat moss. It will never become wet without wetting the area for several days.

Your are not watering long enough. When you water it looks wet but it never leaves the surface. Many peat-moss products have clay which will not absorb water. Peat repels water and dries out fast.

Your soil is to compact. Once people have walked on the soil or it goes unused and it has become to compact it can not absorb the water. Till the soil and water for 20 minutes every day until the water is absorbed.

Your soil is completely dried out,. This will take time and patience. You need to re-moisturize your soil. Everyday water and turn the soil over making sure that all the dirt is getting saturated. Once the soil is moist completely again you are good to go.

Re-moisturize you soil with a combination of organic baybay soap and water. This cuts the repelling action in the soil and helps to get the moisture to take again. Also DO NOT apply during the hottest time of day.( morning or late evening) 3oz/per gallon for 1000sqft area. Then water it in for about 30 min. This should help absorption process. If you still see the soil repelling water you may need to reapply. Absorb

So there you have it my answer to the puzzle wit the help of others who have suffered dry soil! 

Here is a link to a page that gives you tips on keeping and improving your raised bed soil. 
Improving your raised bed soil 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Citronella Plant

The reason I am highlighting this plant today well here is the thing. I have a nice little group of baby flies on the patio. The type that just fly round and around all day never going anywhere. They do not even want to go in the house. Now last year I had no flies near the patio No where No how!

Last night as I sat just looking at the little flies I thought Wait a Minute! The Citronella Plant I moved it. That is why the little group of flies persists. So this post is all about that plant. I just got it a couple of years ago and let it stay close to the patio. It got bigger and bigger so I moved it. Prior to moving it I took some cutting's. This is easy to root they come from the geranium family we all know how hardy those guy's are.

Citronella Plant or better know as Mosquito Plant. It is from the geranium Family.The same fragrance that you find in those expensive candles is right in this plant and not so much scent. Enough to drive the little pest's away. The experts say that they do not work as well as the repellents but I do my best to use natural method's to keep the outdoors livable for other's.

This plant will grow 2 to 3 feet tall. It is a great border plant. It does like a little after noon shade to relax. It is good from Zone 9 to 11. You could even cut some of the limbs off and put them into a pot for tables during a party to deter little airborne varmints from landing in your guests food.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sphinx Moth Cocoon

So this big ass guy needed a bit of an explanation. I thought I was in the twilight zone. This "thing" was hugh!Well after a bit of research i found out that this is? It is called a sphinx moth cocoon. 2 to 3 inches long and about a half inch wide.

The "handle" on the right side is actually a sheath protecting the developing proboscis - that certainly gives you an idea of the size of the moth that will emerge.

What a way to get back to blogging here about the garden.I found this in my raised garden down by the house.

I am going to just put it back I do not like the idea of putting it in jar jail.

 So next time you see one of these and have a heart attack like I did do not fret my friend it is all good!

They say that once they become a moth sometimes you can not ell the difference between these and hummingbirds.

Crazy Wow

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Planting Asparagus Year One

Growing asparagus was one of the idea's I have for behind the barn. The area behind the barn. This area has haunted me for 15 years. I have done many many project up there. But let us stick to the project at hand Planting Asparagus.

 The first thing to do is get the area ready. I used one of my home made semi-raised gardens. This was made with a little recycled wood and compost I made here.

Planting Asparagus is going to be a lengthy hobby/task. I have never seen or planted this vegetable and I am really looking forward to the results. Waiting is not something I do well with but the area needs to be planted with things that do well year after year and can handle the California summer sun.

Now it is time to prep the soil. I made a little trench about 6" deep running along the bed. I only planted one row but if you plant several make them 4 to 5 feet apart to allow growing room. Add a little phosphate fertilizer prior to planting. The soil for asparagus should be cultivated to not be so rich in natural acid that is a problem here in Southern California but it can be worked out by adding natural compost or manure.  It can take you up to a year to get the soil just right.

Here is the tricky part. Do not start your asparagus from seed it is too tricky. You need good roots for the asparagus to take charge and get going. Notice I bought year old crowns. They come in a bundle when in season.You will need both male and female there is a difference. Most bundles will give you both. The female have more berries. Also the female produce larger spears.

So the picture above showed my one year old asparagus spears. The one year old spears do better than even the two year old you will find. So stick with the year old spears. Make sure you plant them where you will keep them they are hard to move once they are two years old.

 Place your crown in the treanch and cover with about 3 inches of soil. Let the new plants grow through that soil for about 6 weeks and then add another 3 inches. Kind of like potatoes. Then once the plants have gone dormant in late fall fill the trenches the rest of the way. Did you know an asparagus bed has the life span of up to 50 years. That is done mostly by small farmers like us who just have one bed.

Spread the roots over the trench and spread them so they have plenty of room to grow. Now cover them with 3 inches of soil. Make sure your area has good drainage. Let the stem be sxposed.

Water and after 2 weeks cover the stem with 3 more inches of soil. Mulch.

Patience that is all I can say this is a great thing to plant and forget. OH do water it!

It took my stems about 5 weeks to begin to sprout. they look like little fussy tree's. So cute!Once it is established and after the first year cut the little stocks down in Fall you will know it is time because it will wilt and you will have your first dead foliage. Congrats! Once it rolls around to the second year side dress the bed with compost and mulch and again cut dead foliage in late fall.

I am not-going to jump ahead of this little project. I will post year two and harvest when it happens, once we get closer to something sprouting up in the bed. So far my bed has four of the original six stocks grew. But I have to say one of the plants is a little runt that has dead foliage on it and will more than likely end up being the biggest.

This picture is September when they grew all summer. Looks like a little fern. xoxo

Helpful links Asparagus in the Home Garden - Old Farmers Almanac