Monday, April 1, 2013

Taters et. al.

As you may recall, we had an unexpected snow a week ago. This and the chilly winds that persisted the rest of the week kept me out of the garden until Friday, when the temperature climbed up a bit and the sun graced us with brightness. And so after work, I came home determined to finally get my potatoes in the ground and (hopefully) some of those perennials that inexplicably leaped into the car at the garden center the previous weekend.
First things first: gather together the necessaries.

They're alive! English daisies, pincushion flower, and those brown grass...  things.

Seed taters.
Next, a tour of the landscape. Got to put those new plants somewhere. Oh the difference a year makes. What was a dumpy trashy corner this time last year is now our proudest little corner in the backyard.

We still think we're geniuses for pulling this off.
Now in that back right corner was the first heather I ever successfully grew. Mulch Boy picked it out his own self at the garden center, despite my misgivings, and astonishingly it has thrive despite ongoing abuse by dog traffic--in a flattened state, to be sure, but still.

However, Mulch Boy was no longer pleased with poor smashed heather's appearance and wanted to have it replaced with brand-new unsmashed heather. Since heather was technically "his," I could not argue in good conscience, and so condoned the purchase of three new little heathers to replace our stalwart veteran. And so they relieved the old soldier on Friday.
Left, young whippersnappers. Right, grizzled veteran, suspicious of the new arrivals
(Quick parenthetical remark: I bought the new heather on impulse at the Dee-Pot, forgetting that You Should Never Buy Plants at the Dee-Pot. These poor things turned out to be so root-bound, they seemed to be potted twice: once in a plastic pot, and inside that again in another pot made of a solid mass of roots. It took several acts of great violence to pry apart the solid roots enough to make them semi-suitable to plant.)

Free from their root-bound prisons! Fenced in for protection from over-curious beagles.
I have a tendency to anthropomorphize...  well, a lot of things, including sometimes my plants. We have three boxwoods named Big Julie, Nicely-Nicely, and Harry the Horse, just to give you an idea of things around here. I had not named this poor old retired heather, but I had become attached to him (!) and didn't like the idea of just trashing him when he was still alive and healthy, albeit scraggly.

Once he was out of the ground, I notice that many of the branches (thoughtfully mashed into the soil previously by Charlie) had developed roots. I decided to tear old heather into pieces and see if I could turn my first successful heather into a whole new generation of heather. The result: nine potential new heather plants, trailing up the side of the yard and to the very back. If they succeed, free plants! If they fail, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Here are some pictures in which I swear the new heather transplants are shown, but are nearly invisible. I will take better pictures after Mulch Madness, when they will surely show up better.
See right there in the middle?

Three more.  I swear!

There's one there in the right center. Hey, and behind is one of
last week's forsythia transplants and it's not dead yet!

Three more, in front of the boulders.

Last one, all by himself.
This was actually the last thing I did on Friday evening before Mulch Boy got home, but because Blogger doesn't seem to want me to reorder these photos, I'm forced to tell the tale out of order.

Anyway, before any of the heather adventure, I took my seed potatoes out to the veg garden and finally got them in the ground. Turns out we bought rather a lot of seed potatoes. Twice as many as I'd actually mapped for in the garden. I planted them all anyway. Potatoes are fun. For some reason, they seem more improbable than anything else we've ever grown (maybe because we don't know anyone else who grows them), but they are one of our most successful crops. Fifty potato plants for two people? Sure, why not?

This year, I actually used a ruler, and made little trenches, and EVERYTHING.
The top section is Kennebec. The middle section is... uh... red ones. The bottom
section is the other ones that came prepackaged. Yeah, those ones.
I also got those brown grass... things planted on the side of the house by the dry creek bed, flanking the drainpipe where it enters the creek bed. It's very artistic and lovely, but you'll have to trust me because I forgot to take a picture before I got involved in The Great Heather Transplant project, and then Mulch Boy came home and said "You've been out here three hours, get your arse inside and let's eat pasta carbonara," and really you can't argue with logic like that.


  1. I'm so glad you posted that photo of your seed taters! I planted mine out on Sunday. They looked like that (sort of decay-ey) and I was afraid I'd done something wrong. What a relief to know they are supposed to do that.

  2. We can have a potato race! Word to the wise: you do have to follow the instructions to mound up the dirt around the plants as they get bigger... And then be ready for them to flop all over when they get really big (which they do). I'm considering putting some of that little decorative metal fencing between the rows to act as support when the plants come along.