It is finshed

slowpoke_gardenerJune 22, 2013

At least the onions and potatoes.

I also had a great lunch, all from the garden, potatoes, peppers, squash, tomatoes and cabbage. A King should not eat any better than that.


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Kings don't eat food any fresher, that's for sure. Your onion and potato harvest looks good. We haven't dug either of ours yet, except a few to eat fresh, but they are both starting to decline, so it won't be long.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry, Most Kings would be happy to have food as fresh as yours, and I don't know if they get it that fresh either. Your harvest looks great.

I only have the late potatoes (Kennebecs) to dig and they still are lush and green and I am not in a big hurry to dig them. However, yesterday I found rotting potatoes in 3 beds (not a lot were rotting, but any at all is a bad sign), so I know I need to dig the Kennebecs too. However, they are in the old Peter Rabbit Garden up by the potting shed and their bed is totally above grade level, so they ought to be able to stay rot-free longer than the ones in the main garden. At this time of year, lush, green potato plants can go downhill fast, so I might dig around under one plant on the edge of the bed and see what is under the soil this evening when it cools off a bit. This bed is hyper-mulched with so much grass clipping mulch on it that I am about halfway afraid snakes will be in there. I might rake back the mulch tonight, and dig tomorrow. That would give any snakes in the mulch time to go away.

Dorothy, I am finished now with the harvest of all onions and garlic, and 90% done with the potatoes, and all I can say is that having the digging done is a huge relief. Every day it is a little hotter than the day before, and by about a week from now, we should start hitting 100 degrees according to our local TV met. My big goal this year was just to get all my potatoes dug before the 100-degree weather set in. I think I am going to make it.

Now, the big corn harvest is beginning even as the potato and onion harvest ends. Everything is maturing really fast after spring stayed cold for so long. I wouldn't mind having the cold weather come back for a couple of days, but I don't think it is going to happen.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 3:08PM
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Dawn and Dorothy, thanks. The potatoes did fair considering what they went through this year. I had to plant them with the posthole diggers because the ground was so wet. Then they were frostbit 3 times. I know there are more potatoes out there but the ground is so hard I can hardly dig them. I was told Wed. that I need to see an Orthopedic Surgeon, my right shoulder has 2 torn muscles, damaged rotator cuff and a bone spur. The shoulder problem, along with my hip and back problem has really slowed me down.

I will try to get the area tilled and ready to plant something else. I can still do a pretty good job using the Poulan Pro tiller. There is no way I can till my corn stalks in this year, they will just have to be cut down and fed to the cows.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Heh. Slowpoke, yer as bad as I am. Even if it isn't busted, it doesn't work right. Got a lot of miles on this ol' chassis.

Those taters look great, imo. You done good.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 9:18PM
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pam_chesbay(VA 8a/7b)

Boy Larry. Your potato harvest looks great! I'm green with envy.

There is definitely a learning curve when growing potatoes. Example: This is my first year of growing potatoes. I didn't know about Colorado Potato Beatles. They won the battles and the war. I divided my potatoes and planted them in two gardens. Those planted in the garden closer to the house are in better shape. I dug the potatoes in the big garden far from the house today. Tiny harvest but I guess that's to be expected when CPB skeletonize your potato plants.

I need to rethink this crop. Is it worthwhile? Can I do the necessary work at this time of year when we are having nonstop company? No answers yet.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 9:37PM
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wbs, getting old is not as much fun as I was hoping it would be, but it is still better than the alternative.

Pam, when I put a pencil to my gardening, my tomatoes and peppers are the only produce that is worthwhile. I have to put in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week doing something, and there is few things that I enjoy as much as gardening. With a mindset like that I guess I will try to garden as long as I can wiggle.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 10:11PM
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Larry, one thing I've learned is that if wanna get old, you gotta be tough. ;)

I like to garden and grow stuff. Keeps me movin' and gettin' off my butt and doin' somethin'.

Two things I'm having trouble with down here are growing peppers and increasing the yields on my taters. My yields on the taters aren't what I'd hoped for. Of course, I need more amendments in those tater beds and I don't fertilize the taters much.

I also don't figger it as losing money. I have the time, so I discount that and think about what we're saving on the grocery bill. When I figure it that way, the garden has paid for itself, even as fancy pants as I've been with the installation.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 10:40PM
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Larry, I wonder if there might not be a way to get hold of a WHOLE LOT of organic material, pile up a REALLY BIG Pile of it, on some part of your garden, and let it rot down to soft fluffy humus for planting in... when you get old.

I'm a spring chicken compared to you. But my back is becoming more and more delicate. I'm starting to have to think about how to work smarter. I've always LOVED digging and cultivating. But I'm learning some tricks to soften the soil and work it less intensively. Anyway, with all the experience represented on this forum. Maybe we can come up with some ideas for you. I have noticed my soil actually softens up, on its own, when I keep it covered with either regular or "green" mulch and maintain humidity. In places I've piled up barn scrapings (like 3') the following year I have about 6-8" of fantastic soft black humus, which is easy to work into the top few inches of soil and leaves a very easy place to work. Just an idea.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 7:41AM
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George, I am working on that Idea, and it is working, but it is a very slow process because I don't have access to the type of organic matter I need. I am also trying to install permanent trellises in most of my garden.

I am gathering hay, leaves and grass clippings and would like to have access to quality manure. I saw an add on craigslist for cedar bark and shavings that looked good, but I am a little afraid of the cedar.

Thanks for the idea, and maybe some one else can throw in an idea or two.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 8:10AM
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Mr Larry,
You managed to teach me how to grow garlic,(it was better than good this year) perhaps now you could teach me how to grow potatoes. Because yours are indeed awesome.
I didn't know there were early and late potaotes. Are there fall potatoes? And what should I be doing for those?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:13PM
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Luvabsil, I will do any kind of teaching I can, but first I need to do some learning.

Yes there are fall potatoes, but they seem to be harder to grow. I planted some last fall and they did not come up till late this spring. They are growing in my corn rows now making the potato bugs and birds very happy. I did not plant till very late fall last year, and then planted my corn on top of them this spring thinking that the potatoes had rotted. I just set some out to bring in the house to see if they will chit. Sometimes it is hard to find seed potatoes for fall planting.

I hope that some of the other forum members will get on here and help you because this is just my 3rd. or 4th time at trying to grow potatoes.

I am happy you got good garlic this year, it seems to be a good year for it.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 4:20PM
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I have not ordered from this company, but they have a lot of information on potatoes. It also helps that they are divided into early, main, late, and fingerlings so the catalog itself offers an education.

Here is a link that might be useful: Potato Garden

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 6:29PM
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pam_chesbay(VA 8a/7b)

Hi Larry, Your photo looks wonderful. When I grow up, I want to grow potatoes like yours.

This was my first year of attempting to grow potatoes and I made a lot of mistakes. I planted late because conditions were unbelievably wet so the seed potatoes sat under the bed for weeks.

I didn't know about Colorado Potato Beatles until it was too late. Dug up a few pathetic looking potatoes yesterday. Lost the battle and the war.

Any suggestions about how to get rid of all the CPBs that have infested the soil? I know we really don't get rid of them but I'm sick of looking at them and sick of squishing them. Most of all, I don't want them to spread to the tomatoes and peppers.

I'm tempted to dump a ton of Sevin on the potato bed but I did that already and it didn't work. Those CPBs sat on the plants, munching leaves covered with Sevin. Amazing but true.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Pam, I don't know what you should do, but I can tell you what I did.

One of my wife's daughter brought her a plant back from Florida. We found out later that it was covered in what we thought were spider mites. She thought she had lost it and set it out on the porch to throw away. I knew the plant was one she wanted to keep. I told her that I thought I could save it, but not with the inside type of spray she was using. She told me to do what ever I could to save it. I mixed about 3 qt. of Spectracide and sprayed it about once a week along with her other plants. When I noticed the potato bugs on the potatoes and no lady bugs around I sprayed the tops very lightly and kept watching the plants, about a week later I noticed the lady bugs, young wheel bugs bird, and other insects feeding in the potatoes. I did not have to spray again.

To make a long story short, I used about 3 or 4 oz. of spray on my potatoes and the rest of the 3 qts. on my wife's plants that were moved to the porch. She did not lose one plant, and that that tree that has the 3 trunks woven together looks very nice now and looks like it is getting ready to bloom.

I have some potatoes that have come up in my corn but I am letting the birds feast on those potato bugs, and if I have to spray again, I will do it in a heart beat.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry, I hope you get that shoulder taken care of soon. A friend of mine had rotator cuff surgery when he was in his 5Os and he felt so much better afterwards that he said he wished he hadn't put off the surgery for so long.

My gardening buddy, Fred, has had several surgeries since we moved here in 1999, and is still ranching and gardening. He stays busier outside than I do and he turns a very young 91 years old in a couple of months. When one of his aching joints gives out on him, he has it replaced. There is nothing on this earth that is going to slow him down. I want to be like that as I age.

George, You and I are about the same age and my body, too, is making me slow down a little and adapt methods of doing things that is kinder to my aging body. I kinda think now that I am paying for some of the years when I abused my body by making it work way too hard. I am trying harder to pace myself a little better, but my mind doesn't want to slow down as much as my body does.

Larry, I have struggled for years with ground that is too hard, despite a lot of amending. I don't know if my amended clay ever will be as soft and fluffy as I'd like. What helps it more than anything is the addition of lots of compost, but I cannot make enough compost fast enough for all the garden area I have. So, in the fall I decide where the potatoes will go in spring and then I give those beds the most amending. I add not only compost to them but lots of pine bark fines and pest moss. Since our soil is high pH to begin with, the peat moss helps bring down the pH and I think that is why we rarely have potato scab.

Earlier this year, we dumped all of the soil-less mix out of the molasses tub containers and refilled them with new sterile mix. I used the old mix to hill up the potatoes and they sure did perform better in it. I wish I could improve the soil more than I do but there's never enough time or organic matter to go around.

Pam, I think potatoes are very worthwhile but there is definitely a learning curve. I have to force myself to plant them early enough to give them time to produce well before the heat arrives, even though planting them early leaves them vulnerable to late freeze or frost damage. Some years when I have delayed planting too long because of cold, wet weather, my potato harvest has been roughly 25% of what it is in a year when I plant on time. If I had known back earlier in the spring just how bad the CPBs were going to be this year, I would have sprayed the plants with Colorado Potato Beater at the first sign of CPB damage instead of spending all that time hand-picking the beetles.

Larry, It can be hard to get fall potatoes to sprout and grow in a timely manner because the potatoes need a dormancy period before being planted. There are still a few places that have seed potatoes available now for fall, and those likely have been held in cold storage so would sprout just fine. If you want to use some of your current harvest for seed potatoes, just put them in the fridge for a month before you plant them. That usually is long enough to help them break dormancy and sprout in the fall. Otherwise they often won't sprout until late winter or early spring.

Carol, I have ordered seed potatoes from Potato Garden several times, including back when they operated under a different name, and their potatoes always have performed well for me. This year about 1/3 of the varieties I grew were from them.

Pam, I don't know of a chemical way to kill them in the soil but there likely is something that would do it . Most years, rototilling the ground a couple of times in the coldest part of winter will expose them to enough cold to kill them. This year it apparently did not, based on how many there were. With potatoe bugs, it helps a lot if you rotate all potatoes and their relatives to new beds although I find that hard to do merely because I grow so many plants from the solanum family. After I hand picked a gazillion CPBs in one week, I only rarely found another one here or there. When digging potatoes , I found only one CPB, and it was lying dead on the ground under a plant. Some years the CPBs are awful and some years I barely see any at all. I very rarely find them on pepper or tomato plants even when they are growing the very next row over from the potatoes, separated only by a pathway that is two feet wide. Beneficial nematodes, applied at the right time (in cooler conditions than we have now) might help control them. When I have applied beneficial nematodes to the soil, I haven't had CPBs in that year, but I didn't have an untreated area for comparison's sake so cannot say for sure if the beneficial nematodes were what made the difference. Maybe it would have been a CPB-free year anyhow.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 4:22AM
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I've been working on potatoes from seed (true seed: TPS), for a couple years now. They are harder to get going than tomatoes. But they're not excessively difficult. The trick is that one needs to transplant the seedlings a couple of times, each time setting the deeper into the potting mix, in order to simulate planting from a sprouting potato. This improves the first harvest very much.

Anyway, this is the first year I planted mainly from seed potatoes I produced myself. The trial isn't concluded yet. So I could find more. But seedlings from the variety Huagalina are supposed to have almost no dormancy time. One can harvest and plant small tubers right away. Huagalina derrived plants are supposed to produce very small potatoes; the largest being about the size of a golf ball, and this has been my experience. But they are also supposed to be high producers. I'm waiting for the confirmation of my first good harvest. My plants haven't died down completely. They are, however, the first to die down.

There are a number of seed lines available through Tom and Rob Wagner at New World Seeds and Tubers. Some will throw very short dormancy seedlings. These are the easiest for producing a fall crop. Long dormancy types will sometimes refuse to sprout until too late. I say sometimes because Dawns refrigeration idea might truly solve that difficulty. I don't believe I've tried it.

I know this is more involved than many would want to get. But for me it's an exciting possibility for a sustainable source of seed potatoes. Here in Oklahoma, the biggest catch might well be that we heat up so quickly, that completing the cycle, and producing more true seed, is very difficult.


Here is a link that might be useful: New World Seeds & Tubers: True Potato Seed

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 5:43AM
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