Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Did I not just write a few posts ago that I always have a plan but rarely follow it?

After having publicly declared my excitement about checking out Community Forklift, after convincing Mulch we should go to Community Forklift's annual to-do on Saturday, after Google-mapping the way to Community Forklift, I decided not to go to Community Forklift.

Do I have attention-deficit disorder, or am I just a flake? That's for Mulch Boy to decide. Still, there was some logic to my decision. We had a plan--ie., The Plan--that included a trip to the hardware store, the possible purchase of a new gas grill, some shopping, and planting. Given that we were getting out of the house late, I decided that we would never get the rest of our errands done if we schlepped halfway across the Beltway to get to the Forklift, and so the late cancellation.

Instead, we got lots of other things done. It started with potato prep. We got our seed taters and seeds the previous weekend, and so this past Saturday I cut up the seed taters and left them to cure in the sun room. We are going to have quite a lot of potatoes.

Seed taters, garlic, asparagus crowns.

Next we went to the Dee-pot and bought a new gas grill, tried a new sandwich shop in the neighborhood, then went to PetsMart to snuggle the dogs at the adoption event (under the guise of buying treats for Charlie and Rosie).

Back at home, we did Poop Patrol (you dog owners know what I mean), while I impulsively cleaned out the shed (i.e., it made me mad by being a mess). I never understand how we can routinely make such a tiny space so completely a wreck. I took nearly everything out and put most of it back in. There were, however, sacrifices. Why do I hold onto tools that are broken or rusted out or that I never use? I don't know. (Perhaps naming them doesn't make it easier to dispose of them. That's just a theory.) But Saturday, I decided NO MORE, and tossed rusty loppers and shears and the Garden Weasel to the curb.

(You know the Garden Weasel, as seen on TV? I can't believe I allowed myself to become victim to the marketing of this lame tool. The commercial show gardeners breaking ground effortlessly with this silly thing. I am here to tell you, it does not work this way.)

Once finished cleaning out the shed, I threw some potting soil in the rectangular planters on the porch and sowed some mesclun seed--a new experiment. Will they survive? Will they grow? Or has Monday's snow done them in? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, Mulch turned the garden bed, which was of course The Plan. Part of this included harvesting the Super-Soil (you probably know it as compost) from our two compost piles and adding it to the garden bed. In the process, he uncovered several potato and carrot survivors from last year. While occasionally yelling at me in the backyard, asking when I was coming to the front to plant the garden according to The Plan.

Mulch Boy tills the good earth with Super-Soil. Also, this is Mulch Boy's butt.
Rescue potatoes.
He's mighty mighty.

Finally, I made my way to the front yard and the garden. This is when Mulch discovered the Garden Weasel, ready to be abandoned by the roadside. And decided to give it one last chance. And that's when the Garden Weasel got its reprieve. Turns out the Weasel may not break ground As Seen on TV, but it DOES do a creditable job in breaking up the big hunks of dirt and clay created when you turn the ground with your garden fork. And so Mulch used it, and so now it's back in the shed. I guess I'll have to come up with a name for it now.

The Garden Weasel, redeemed.

Then finally, FINALLY, I rejoined Mulch in following The Plan and put down my pathways...

Paths of landscape fabric--added!

...and FINALLY got my first planting done! In this first section, there are three rows of peas, two rows of kale, two rows of garlic, and a general dispersal of mesclun next to the creek bed. All of these are new experiments for us. Will they survive the snows of Monday to sprout another day? None can say.

I guess one butt shot deserves another. The Potato Queen in her dork boots, planting kale.


  1. That's a productive weekend! Even if you skipped the CF event. I bought seed taters to try for the first time, but I don't know what to do with them. What's this curing thing?

  2. Hi, Cherry! Potatoes are so great! We tried them on a lark three years ago, and they tied with bush beans as our most successful crop.

    Curing: depending on who you talk to, you need to cut up your seed taters so that each piece has at least two healthy eyes on it. Then you let the pieces sit out in the nice cool sun to cure/recover from the cutting up/or something. Depending on who you talk to, this can be anywher from 1 to 5 days. I am impatient, so after a day or two, I'm plunking them in the ground. Or I would be if not for SNOW.

    Some folks also tell you to dust them in an antifungal powder... thing. I've not done that (see "impatient") but have had terrific success anyway.

    My one bit of advice: do turn your earth as deep as you can, and follow the instructions about piling the earth around the plants as they grow. You can start harvesting new potatoes as soon as the blooms finish; just plunge your hand in that dirt and search. Or just let them all hang out underground and get bigger and bigger. Potatoes are FUN!

  3. OH, also, the tater plants will get pretty big and tall (and then droop), so don't plant any shorties behind them or they will be doomed (as was my pepper crop that one year).

  4. Thanks for the advice! I need to plant my cool crops this weekend, so I've time for curing if I start tonight.

  5. I grew sweet potatoes in containers last year but have never grown regular potatoes. I bet your seeds are fine. I think cool season crops can take a bit of freeze action. I did have to cure my sweet potatoes for a few weeks after I harvested them or they'd taste weird.

  6. @Mariposa: really! I want to do sweet taters, and I will eventually, but I forgot about 'em because Mulch Boy doesn't like them. Do you start them in spring like regular taters? I tried that old grade school trick of suspending a sweet potato in a glass of water using toothpicks, but all I ended up with was a soggy sweet potato.