Saturday, June 23, 2012

growing potatoes in cans and having problems



It was time for more potato cans... 

We have been growing potatoes in 2 very old plastic trash 
cans for so many years they are 
falling apart. 

This spring I bought several new plastic cans.
Cheap ones (by today's standards).
They were deeper, heavier and as I thought built to 
last many potato harvests down the road.

WHAT A SHOCK!

Look at what is happening.



The light blue/gray can is an old one, it is thin and lots of light comes through it.
 The potatoes are growing as they should be.

The black or very dark green can in the back ground was planted the same day as 
all three cans were.  It was perhaps warmer being black.  However it is not
growing well at all.  The wall are thick and didn't allow the sun through in the early 
growing of the potatoes.

The lighter green can is new also, in the foreground, the plants are so small
they are still not growing well. 

 Thick plastic not good I'm thinking. 

This is the can that is not growing well they are barely 1/3 the way up the can. Sad!




Oh look at this gray can, my very oldest one. 
it is growing so very well!  Oh to have more old cans.  
All potatoes were planted the same day and in the same way!

My suggestion, keep them in a warm place.  I've moved all the
cans to the cement patio in the sun.. They still won't grow as well.

Maybe if you beat me to the local garage sells you'll find 
some old thin plastic cans.  

Once again  SAD

OCT 2012 UPDATE

All the potatoes are harvested.  Some very nice ones but clearly 
the heavy trash cans had much smaller potatoes.   It's good to hear
Kevin has had success near warm stones and metal containers.


My Helpers

How to eat from a home garden



When you consider price, work, weather, bugs etc
 gardening can seem very un-necessary.

Why would I be so driven to grow my own food when I can buy it in the store?


1) The taste of home grown food can not in any way compare to the store bought
2) When it comes to variety home grown can beat store bought hands down
3) fresh, nothing can be fresher than a pre-dinner walk to gather your supplies for dinner.
4) harvest when the food is perfectly ripe has to be my favorite reason home gardens are wonderful.

In thinking about the above list let me add some things for you to consider.  

We do not need to let our home grown plants
 get the size of store bought. 


 We are so lucky to be able to harvest our food when it is young and tasty.

If you wait for your produce to get as large as store bought
 you'll miss out on the yummy taste that is possible.

Here are some examples:
Peas as soon as formed are better than large peas
lettuce cut from the outside of a plant, leaving the plant to keep growing is tender and sweet
Bush beans are wonderful when only 4 inches long
Carrots are sweet and tasty when not too old
Spinach collected a few small leaves at a time make perfectly heavenly salads
Beet greens taken young are very tender as is kale and chard leaves.
Zucchini is perfect at 6 inches long
beets that are the size of golf ball roast in the oven so nicely



Some plants that do need more time to be fully grown are
Potatoes
Tomatoes,
Peppers
winter squash
eggplant
Garlic
storing onions

They each have signs that show they are ready to eat.
Potatoes need to bloom and die down

Garlic needs to have some warmth to form a bulb 
and then they will dry to about 4 leaves left before harvest

Peppers can get bigger before harvest and be wonderful and juicy

Eggplant need some bulk to be good

Onions can be harvested small, med or large.  They need some dry weather and
the greens to die back....press them over when the onions decide to flower.  

I think we all agree that tomatoes are better when they get red, 
or orange or yellow, anything
except green!



A very good habit to make is to walk through the garden every 
day when planning your evening meal.  
You will learn to eat from all that is in your home garden and become a garden Gourmet.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How to grow and harvest lettuce in the PNW

Another post on eating what you grow at it's very best

Lettuce

It is really wonderful here in the Pacific Northwest
The damp weather keeps the lettuce from getting bitter.
The long cool late Springs and summers keeps our lettuce 
from bolting to seed.  We really do get a long season 
for growing lettuce.  Yum Yum

You may do your lettuce differently here.



I plant them closely
I collect leaves from the bottom of all the plants
that usually makes one salad bowl in our house. 

Lettuce will keep growing and making more leaves. 

I don't replant lettuce until my fall/winter lettuce types go in the ground. 
I just keep harvesting off the plants I have. 

I stepped out between rain showers 
to collect the photos in this posting. 

Rain as hard as we have been getting beats
lettuce down.  I have my salad box covered for now.

You can see the spaces where I have harvested leaves off the
plants.  You couldn't see the dirt anywhere in the
box a couple of days ago.

Be sure and clean off any leaves that go yellow, limp or have too many bug nibbles.
Keeping the plants looking healthy makes me want to collect and enjoy of greens.

Lettuce is wonderful for taco/s, burritos, salads of course and sandwiches. 
I plant chives and beets and parsley in my salad box also. 

HINT:  regular watering will keep the lettuce from being bitter.
If it warms up you'll need to move your salad table into the shade
and keep it moist.

Enjoy!  I do