Garden update: early August, 2008

I really wanted to plant a fall garden this year, which I finally did today…even though I think it’s probably too late. I just didn’t make time to get the potatoes out of the ground until Aug. 6th, what with all the canning. (Ooh! New toy! Potatoes will keep…)

So I pulled the potatoes, and I got 35 lbs out of a 28 sf bed planted on 9″ centers. The Russian Banana fingerlings were a little more prolific than the Onaways or Sebagos, but the latter two were easier to harvest – fewer, larger potatoes, with fewer “lurkers.” The Sebagos look the nicest and have the thinnest skins, but I haven’t eaten any yet to see how they taste and I have no idea how they’ll keep. Though these fingerlings were started from ones I planted last year and stored over the winter.

And I am so done with trying to hill potatoes. It’s a pain in the butt, and I still only found tubers in one flat plane – none of this “potatoes will fill up the entire space between the seed potato and the surface.” I might try it with dirt again next year, but the straw is worse than useless. And I always have the problem…where is the dirt supposed to come from? I don’t just have bushels of spare dirt hanging around.

Once the potatoes were out, I planted turnips, carrots, beets, and some cilantro. I’m working on my carrot technique; my luck growing them is shoddy, at best. Are the seeds drying out? Too wet? Smothered by row cover? Scorched by summer sun? Old, dead seed? I have no idea. This spring’s crop of carrots was only my second successful crop ever over maybe 6 years of trying. Any carrot-growing suggestions would be most welcome. I hate fussy crops, but we eat so many carrots, I really want to be able to grow them. This fall’s experiment includes carrots with no cover, and rows covered in straw, perlite, or row cover. It’s all the same bulk Danvers seed, bought this spring, that grew well in my spring planting. So we’ll see, I guess.

I did finally bring in the peas that were drying for seed last weekend and have also planted green beans in their stead: Contender bush beans that I’d saved from seed last year and Kentucky Wonder pole beans I bought this spring. This has been a really bad year for beans, too…hope these actually produce something!



  1. Kate said,

    August 11, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Yea, I came to the same conclusion about hilling potatoes–I think it is only for people who really like to dig trenches and do so for their amusement, not because it seems to increase the yield one jot.

  2. Jen in MI said,

    August 11, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    It sounds like you’ve done some great work here!

  3. Zoomie said,

    August 12, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog – and for the encouragement to think about planting a fall crop of beans! It would be easy enough to do here in California and it might erase some of my discouragement with the summer crop!

  4. Emily said,

    August 13, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Hey, Zoomie! I’m actually having a kind of disappointing garden season, too. But if I remember that gardening is a process, not a product…well, I’ve learned a *lot* this year. I’ve enjoyed the garden immensely. I’ve greeted it every morning and I walk through it several times a week, looking for baby squash, beans, the first ripe tomatoes. I’ve taken silly numbers of pictures of sunflowers. How can that be a failure?

  5. Derrick said,

    August 13, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    I wanted so much to plant some more for this fall, but I never got around to it. I’m now sad as I watch some of my plants start to wither.

  6. Angela said,

    August 13, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Please arrange for me to have 12 extra hours to my day so I can do this!!! I hope to grow something more than tomatoes next year. Sigh. I guess I did have too much going on.

    I just printed your vegetarian meal planner–AWESOME! I will enjoy using it! Thank you!

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