June 24th, 2012 by Marc Opperman
I’ve largely let my garden space go to seed, literally. I have more wildflower seed heads drying in the relentless sun than I think I’ve ever had before, and in parts of the yard that never before had wildflowers. I blame the good rains we had in Spring and my lack of mowing thereafter.
One of the neater volunteers in the spaces that weren’t mowed was a standing winecup (Callirhoe digitata.) Ive had this in my yard in the past, but in a completely different location, and not for the last 3 years. Another factor that may have helped was that my neighbor cut down two-thirds of an overhanging mulberry tree, and now I get a lot more sun in part of the back yard.
This weekend I finally dug the last of my potatoes – kennebecs, red pontiacs and Russian fingerlings. (All the seed potatoes came from The Natural Gardener.)
I got ten pounds of potatoes. My yield of the two big varieties was a little disappointing, as it was last year. Not sure if I could have done something to increase the size and quantity of them. Also, I may have waited too long – some of the larger specimens came up slightly rotten. In addition, a lot of the kennebecs and red pontiacs developed a lot of odd nodules, looking more like toads than potatoes. They seem edible, however. While I don’t know, I suspect this condition is related to the soil being too wet at times, causing swollen lenticles (described on this page.)
Still, I didn’t have any of the potato scab from last year. I had worked in a lot of compost to the potato beds this year. The change in pH (more acidic) from the added compost is supposed to inhibit the bacteria that causes scab.
Scab last year:
The Russian fingerlings, however, performed very well for the small space they grew in, and all of them seemed healthy. I will be growing more of these in the future since they yield small tubers that would be good for a variety of purposes – sautéed, roasted, grilled, etc.
This weekend the boy and I have been eating a lot of “taterpas” – lightly-sauteed coins of potato. I add a little garlic powder and coarse sea salt. Yum!
Coming soon, too, are my melons. I have five or six cantaloupes nearing the ripening phase, as well as a couple oblong melon that were SUPPOSED to be cantaloupe but look more like watermelon. I would have had one more cantaloupe nearing readiness, but I sacrificed it to science and cut it open. It was utterly green and NOT sweet.
The melon patch earlier this year… a view I really like (the house is nearly hidden!)
If that is a watermelon, I might have to donate it to someone. I’ve never been a fan. Though, maybe growing one of my own will convert me, much like when I started loving onions after growing them successfully.