My Edible Garden

I've been gardening for most of my life and have been a devoted fan of organic gardening the whole time. It just makes so much more sense to work in harmony with Mother Nature than to fight her. Besides which it is better for the planet and better for our bodies. Here you can see what I'm planting and harvesting, with gardening hints and resources thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Potatoes and More

kale seedlings under lights
The past few days I've been cleaning up my grow light set up. I have some heavy metal shelves that will take 3 shop lights on each shelf. I picked up some more light fixtures and now have 2 shelves with 3 lights each (before I was just running 2 fixtures per shelf but that isn't enough to keep seedlings from getting leggy). I like to start a lot of seedlings, even those you might direct seed outdoors, inside under the lights. I have more control of temperature and humidity and often get much better germination. This also give me time for crops outdoors to mature and the beds readied for the next crop all while the next crop is already growing.

For example I seeded 2 flats of Red Russian Kale into soil blocks about the first of December. When they filled the blocks with roots I potted them into 4" pots and set them out in a plastic tunnel. A couple of days ago I finished pulling all the carrots out of a bed. Today I cleaned up the bed and got it ready for the kale. In a couple of weeks the kale will be ready to start picking off the outside leaves. But if I had waited and direct seeded the kale today, it would be about 8 weeks before it would be ready to pick.

Red Russian Kale ready to transplant
Also this week I've been getting out all the seed potatoes that I ordered for spring planting! The best size to plant are small potatoes or pieces of potato with one or more eyes that weigh about 2 ounces. (that's the size of a large hen's egg). So there were a few to cut up, but most were about the right size already. I put the cut sides up for a couple of days to get air circulation and dry off, then I will turn them over. Pre-sprout (called "chitting") potatoes in a cool area with some light. If it's too dark and warm the sprouts will grow long and spindly and won't make good plants. I set each kind in a box with it's label so I won't mix them up at planting time! These will go into the ground in early February.

Royal Purple
All Red

All Blue
Belinda is  yellow inside

setting up drip lines on a new bed
In other news I have the first bed in the new garden space ready to plant and got the drip lines installed on it. I am waiting for my supplier to get in some more 1/2" EMT conduit so I can finish the hoop set up. That way I can put frost cloth on as soon as I plant. Not only will it help keep it warmer on cold nights, it will help keep the birds out too.

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