Sunday, September 7, 2008

September 7, 2008 Part II

I don't know what I was thinking when I didn't post yesterday.  Sure it was busy, but I've been busy before and still managed to post.  So I decided to post yesterday's today.  In fact, after uploading 33 pictures from my phone, I decided to do three posts, so please go back and read what I just posted.  Enjoy!

Today, Sunday, September 7, 2008 was the day.  I decided to finally harvest my Yukon Golds!  DoubleD told me I could do so any time and gave me great info on how to store them.  I would have done it wrong.  So I laid out a tarp to catch the dirt.

I removed the boards...

And tipped it over with the help of my wife, boy was it heavy!

What's missing from the picture you say?  Well, potatoes for one.  That's right, my experiment was a failure.  I should have had layers and layers of potatoes.  Instead, I had a mountain of dirt.

And at the very bottom I had a cluster of potatoes for each plant I nurtured for an entire growing season.

I guess I should have researched it more and found out that I can't let the plant to grow more than 4 inches or so above the soil before covering it.  It's the only thing I can think of.  Frustrated?   You bet.  But as my buddy at work taught me, it goes shock, anger, denial, acceptance.  Thankfully on most things I cycle through fast and am already at acceptance as I type this.  I'm not sure I will do potatoes next year.  A lot depends on how good these taste and how many Butte's I get.  If I get squat out of all that jungle, I may reconcider doing this again.  All that work for 10.5 pounds of potatoes.  It's probably 5 meals or so, maybe more, but not a year's worth, that's for sure!

Anyway, thanks to DoubleD, I spread out the potatoes in the September sun.  They dried at 75 degrees for several hours.  Perfect weather for long-term storage, if they last that long.

Oh, and I forgot from my garden tour, look at the pretty flowers on the cantaloupe plants!

And look at what I found as I was working.

It's tough to see, but there's a fat bumble bee trying to pollinate my fruit for me.  Too bad there are no female flowers yet.

Anyway, it was about this time that my mother and aunt showed up.  You see, enough of the blackberries were ready to harvest.  Not too sweet but tender.  Perfect.

My first order of business, as usual, is to hack back a couple feet of space between the bramble and my back fence.  Haven't they heard of encroachment? hehe

So, my mother and eldest son started picking as I got out my machette and started carving a path for them.  I actually harvested more than I cut because my son's not quite tall enough to pick much.

While we were doing this, my aunt was doing what she always does, she was weeding the rose garden.  It's a never ending battle.  If it weren't for the mature roses and irises, I would napalm the area and start over with raised beds.  Someday maybe, but not anytime soon.

Anyway, it was early in the picking when a very unfortunate accident happened.  My aunt was pulling out some wild grass and weeds that had grown up between the house and the roses when she grabbed a hold of a wasp nest.  By the time my wife got out there and scrapped the clinging wasps off her, she had been stung between a dozen and twenty times on the arms, chest, throat and face.  My wife thankfully only got one sting on her stomach.  Even more thankfully, after they got safely in the house and the mini-swarm had disapated, I grabbed my son and made a dash for the door.  My mother followed shortly thereafter and nobody else got stung. 

A significant dosage of Benadryl, Advil and hydrocortizone later, we called the nurse line and on their advice, shipped my aunt off to the ER.  She's in good health, but 65 and a smoker.  Best not to take chances.  She's fine, but we blew the day.  Nobody went outside until dusk. 

So the dirt is still on the tarp, waiting to be bagged for use down the road for something other than potatoes.  The blackberries still need to be harvested.  The flower beds still need to be weeded. And my row covers still need to be installed.  Oh, and I've got a wasp nest to take care of.  My mother wants me to call an exterminator for $125 if it's the same as last time.  My dad just wants me to walk up with a spray can and do it myself.  We've taken nests out before.  When it's fall and the night-time temperatures drop considerably, they get slow and docile at night and it's easy.  But now it's still 63 at midnight!  No way. hehe.  I guess I've got a call tomorrow.  /sigh

Hope you had a good weekend.  My football team looked pittiful in their season opener and I wasted a day in the garden, on top of my wimpy potato production.  Mine could have been better.  Work tomorrow. Better hit the sack.

Enjoy your garden!


  1. How disappointing! I was looking forward to a success story. However, don't give up. You are doing the right thing gardening to feed your family. We learn just as much from our failures as we do our successes.

  2. Re: potatoes. Yeah, it was quite disappointing. But look at the bright side, those are homegrown veggies! And that makes us all happy!

    I didn't know that they need to be sun dried. We haven't unveiled our potato box yet. There are still a lot of green (not much flowers). We'll surely post it when we harvest them.

  3. How many plants grew in the bin? You still have the second bin to harvest right?

    I think I recall 5 plants so that would be 2 pounds a plant which really is a pretty good yield. I think it is just a matter of more bins for better results and maybe less height so more photosynthesis can take place. If you had 6 bins you would have 60lbs which would be basically a years worth of potatoes or at least enough to get through the winter.

    I just harvested my reds and ended up with 17lbs 4oz off of 7 plants still waiting on the 8 fingerlings but they are pretty light potatoes.

  4. Aw man.....the tater story is a real drag. I was hoping you would have better results. About the can sneak up to them at night with a gasoline-soaked rag, and just wrap it over the entire nest. Works like a charm.


  5. sinfonian, read my post in "Bin-again, shall we? #2" at Garden Web. Some are beginning to agree with me that the high rises are NOT the way to go. Fill the first layer of the bin with your compost, lay your seed potatoes over that and add a second board. Cover the potatoes with 4-6" of soil (or compost) and let them grow to 6" high. Add another board and compost to cover the growth, leaving just a few leaves showing. That is all. I've explained the whole thing in my post over there as to the reasoning for this.

    Interesting about drying your potatoes in the sun. I've always dried mine in the shade, as sun can cause them to turn green, which is a real no-no.


  6. Dotty: thanks, I too was hoping for a success story to share with everyone who joined me in building bins and were disappointed.

    Michelle: Thanks, you're right, I am still happy overall with my veggie gardening experience and am planting a fall/winter garden to continue to feed my family nutritious food. I wish you the best of luck with your potatoes as I hope for the best for my Russets, which should be ready sometime in October.

    Dan: I wish I had the space for 6 bins. If I did I would have built a bed and did like GardenGirl.

    EG: hehe it would have to be a huge rag as I don't want to get that close. I'm going to pick up a can of wasp spray and lean out my sons' window at dusk.

    Granny: I did read your post on GW today. Very informative. Not sure I can go that low (see my note to Dan), but I can be far more dilligent about covering growth with little hills at 4 inches or less.

    Thanks all for the kind words and help. It's great to have so many garden buddies!