Monday, March 26, 2012

Potato Planting

It's time for potatoes! Well, in containers anyway. Tonight there is a freeze warning. They are calling for temperatures around 27 with a Real Feel of 19!. Yikes. We haven't seen weather like that in a while. No worries. The potatoes can easily be protected on my porch for the night. The first step was to thoroughly moisten some peat moss. The peat is important for keeping the pH low enough to prevent scab on the future potatoes. I dumped peat in one of the large containers and poured tons of water on it. You have to keep stirring and mixing it. The peat is very hydrophobic at first. It takes a while for it to start to accept the water. Just keep mixing....and mixing....and mixing.
Once the peat was thoroughly moistened, I filled each large container 1/4 of the way with the peat. It's pretty moist (as you can see), but then I filled the containers to the half way mark with potting soil and left over top soil. Mixed it well, and in went the potatoes. In this case I planted Kennebec potatoes that I found a Walmart yesterday. One large seed potato went in each container. Each had about 4-5 eyes that were already sprouting. I pointed those points upward and gently covered with the soil. Once the plants reach up over the rim, I will fill up the rest of the container with soil. Boy it feels good to get my hands all dirty!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Winter came and went... Wait! Winter was here? We only had one good snow right before Halloween and perhaps two dustings after that. That was winter? I guess the strange weather had me preoccupied, and I didn't check in as much as I would have liked. To fill everyone in on what is going on around here on yet another warm, 70+ degree day......The daffodils visit is coming to an end. They sure are a dose of sunshine when they arrive though.
We had a new roof put on our house a few weeks ago. My relatively new (3 year old) Prairiefire Crabapple tree took quite a jolt. One of the roofers tossed something off the roof. It flew a good 15 feet out and caught one of the three main branches of the tree. Bent the end of this branch down to the ground and cracked it along the ridge. Poor thing. I thought the shovel tossed off the roof onto my Golden Zest rose or the three large garbage cans tossed on my blooming daffodils was going to be the worst of it. :(
As you can see in the background, my hummingbird feeders went up a few days ago. According to the hummingbird migration maps, they're already north of us into New York. If you're interested, check out the link to the maps at
It doesn't look like much in the backyard right now, but in a month or two, it should be green and lush.
My Meyers Lemon plant that I purchased about a year ago. It developed its first blooms and just opened for the first time this morning!
Last year I bought a small ivy plant at the grocery store. It did quite well in my eastern-facing window. I decided to take an old wire hanger and make this topiary. The hook is buried under the potting mix. Then I shaped the rest into a circle and twined the vines around it. Although I'm not a big fan of ivy, I do think this makes a nice presentation.
Above is one of my Snow Princess sweet alyssum. It looks like there might be some blossoms starting in the middle of this one. I've never grown sweet alyssum before, but I'm still trying to add fragrant delights to the garden.
Old-Fashioned Vining Petunias. A fragrant annual that is new to me this season.
My tomatoes were planted on the March 11th. They starting germinating the other day. Here is one of the Sun Golds that my daughter is anxiously waiting on. Their flavor hasn't been beaten yet by any other cherry tomato. I know it looks sad, but it's amazing how they can transform into something spectacular within a few months.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention my tomato list for 2012. What was going to include only 4 plants turned into 12. So much for self-control.
2 Sun Gold - Everyones favorite cherry tomato around this house.
2 Celebrity - Dependable, disease resistant choice.
2 Kellogg's Breakfast - My dad's favorite. Superb flavor. Get small toward end of season for me.
1 Cherokee Green- Amazing flavor. Winner for flavor in 2010. Best green yet!
1 Cherokee Purple- Did poorly in a bad tomato year last season. Giving it another try.
1 Sandul Moldovan- Excellent pink.
1 Pruden's Purple- New to me. Despite its name it is a pink. I hear good things about it's production and flavor.
1 Marion- I had old seed, but never tried it. I figured I would plant it to get fresh seed...and to taste it.
1 Marglobe- Same as Marion. I've never tried it, but would like fresh seed to replace the old. Interested to see how it tastes and produces.
Left: Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) from last seasons saved seed.
Middle: Tango Celery. A hybrid.
Right: Fat N' Sassy Peppers. Another hybrid which are now sold under the name King Arthur.
Dwarf Red Haven Peach. This is the first time my Stark's supreme dwarf RH Peach has had blossoms on it. They have such a beautiful pink hue to the flowers. Gorgeous. Since the tree is still quite small...even for a dwarf, I won't let it fruit yet. The scaffolds need to thicken up a bit and branch out before I will put that kind of stress on it. It is nice to see that it is doing well though.
Music and German Extra Hardy garlic which was planted last October. Off to a healthy start.
Caroline Raspberries. This is all from ONE bareroot plant that I planted last Spring.
Earliglow Strawberries. I went out this morning to find a blossom already! Last year my first Earliglow started to blush on May 19th. With all of this ridiculously warm weather the last few weeks, they are way ahead of schedule. I hope they hang on when the temperatures drop back down starting tomorrow. It'll be going from mid- to high-70s back into the mid-50s (where it should have been all along).