Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 23, 2009

Today I got a chance to get out into the garden for the first time in a while.  Mostly I needed to gut it of all the spent and bolted plants.  The secondary benefit was to get rid of the piles (and I mean piles) of compostables that have just been sitting around (mostly in the garage) waiting for me to turn the compost.  So I got on my garden gloves and started ripping and composting.

I forgot to take a before shot, but here is most of what needs to be removed.  The lettuce has bolted badly and I should really have yanked that huge broccoli when I harvested it.  You think these overcrowded their squares a tad?

The funny thing is that this hot, hot weather around here has basically killed my grass. I have never watered because my lot is so wet, but this year it actually died.  Oh well. I water food, not grass.  What that means is that I have not mowed in a month.  That's another thing that is odd about this year's weather (ahem, global warming, hehe). What that means for my compost is that I am at a sudden loss for greens.  I was tempted to go to Starbucks for grounds, but this time I had more than enough from the garden.  The browns of course were shredded newspaper and soiled paper products.

I couldn't believe it.  I almost ran out of partially composted material to layer in between the new greens and browns.  I couldn't believe just how much garden waste I had, on top of the stuff I've been saving.

I also have been trying like mad to get a good shot of my yukon potato bed.  Every time I try I keep getting the bright/shadow lines that make for lousy pictures.  Finally it was a good shot at dusk.  Look at what's happeneing to my once proud potato stems standing tall.

Not only are they laying down, but they're touching the gravel pathways and smothering my carrots.  Honestly I have never experienced this with my bins, at least until they are dying back.  I wonder if that's what they're doing.  They are an early variety after all.  I'm still watering them in case I'm wrong. Once I see them starting to die despite the watering.  I do want to get them out of there soon though, because I've got 8 SF of carrots that may or may not be doing anything under all that mess on the right.


  1. The Yukon Gold's look healthy, maybe they just don't like all the heat. My raise bed grown spuds flopped a lot last year. Its been so cool here this year all the spuds are standing well.

  2. It's probably the heat killing the potatoes. I know they don't like that, any more than I do! Since I got back from Colorado in early June, it has been well over 100 degrees at some point during the day almost every darn day. My spring garden, although I started it late, is pretty much done between the heat and the bugs. Round Two is already started, though, with my babies sowed in a timely manner this time, so far, anyway (knock on wood!).

  3. Potatoes generally lay over like that in the latter part of their top growth growing cycle - combination of just general legginess, variations in heat and watering, increasing bug damage, and the plant aging and starting to shunt sugars down to the tubers for the final storage process. Usually after the big bloom cycle is done, the lay over stage generally follows sometime shortly thereafter. The next stage after that is the die back stage. When it occurs is a function of many things so it will not be the same each year or for different growers. The variety (early, mid, late), when it was first planted, the amount of watering and heat it has received, and whether there was some vegetative support available (like your potato box provides with the sides) will all determine how much and how fast the top growth will lay over.

    My early and mid seasons are in varying stages of lay over. The Buttes (a late variety) are still quite upright.