Don’t you hate it when you open a packet of seeds and look in the pack and see WAY more than you know you really need to plant, but you feel obligated to plant every seed anyway?
And then, when they all sprout and you know you need to thin them, you hate the thought of yanking out those little plants that have just reached their secondary leaf stage?
Well, I knew this would happen when we ordered a 50lb. bag of Kennebec potatoes this past winter. I got the call from Fieldworks (great people, btw) on Monday that the potatoes were in, and could we pick them up today as the temperatures were going to go below freezing that night and they didn’t have a place to store them all.
I took a ride over at lunchtime and picked up 50lbs of potatoes along with our regular order of 50lbs of Kelp meal for the sheep (Who’d have thought that sheep love something that smells like the beach? Of course we tried to bring home some fresh kelp after our beach walk one time, and they wanted no part of it!).
Yesterday, while Roy was tilling an area to prepare more space for all of these potatoes, I got to cutting them into pieces.
It’s best to cut potatoes into pieces, each containing at least one eye, prior to planting. After the potatoes are cut, the cut sides must be allowed a day or so to callous over prior to being put in the ground to protect the potato from disease.
Planting potatoes is the easy thing! Just dig a trench, drop them in about a foot apart, cut side down (eyes looking up!), and cover. The tough part (Roy’s job!) is hilling them over after they start growing above the ground. It is important that the developing potatoes be covered and protected from light so that they will not turn green, indicating the accumulation of solanine, a nasty toxin.
So here are our rows — not exactly straight, but our excuse is that we were following the contour of the strawberry patch, which has a mind of its own.
We stretchedout the tape measure so we could drop potatoes every foot, then Roy and the boys covered them over.
Be careful not to cover a rock instead! This town ain’t called North STONington for nothing! Here we demonstrate…rock vs. potato. Actually, we call these abundant stones “Connecticut Potatoes.” They actually reproduce themselves! I swear they do! There are more and more each year in our garden!
Can’t believe we got them all planted! It should be a pretty prolific harvest, to say the least! But our family of 10 can eat a LOT of potatoes, as you can imagine!
On top of all of that planting, we managed to get all of the weekly routine stuff out of the way, plus we cleared out the “maternity ward” and readied it for Bindi. We mucked out all of the old straw bedding from the winter inside and in front of the shed. It’s all limed and ready for bedding down with fresh straw when she starts to go into labor.
She’s really not looking like she’s ready to deliver, munching away at her hay this evening.
Oh yeah. And I had this epiphany today after we tilled up the old compost area for the potatoes (talk about awesome soil!).
Well, actually I just got a bit carried away with the tiller.
But really, I had this epiphany that we were mowing way too much grass, so with Roy’s approval, I bumped out the garden on both sides and added QUITE a bit of square footage to our garden footprint, along with DECREASING the amount of grass we need to mow (which is always a good thing!) So now we have more than enough extra room for the extra potatoes! It’s a wonder wenever thought of this before!
And while we were working on all of this, the older girls supervised the normal Easter preparations. Cookies are baked, eggs are dyed.
Not bad looking for starting out with brown eggs!
Our beautiful 13lb Stonyledge Farm ham is thawed and ready to be baked tomorrow. Easter bread is in the bread machine. The kids are scrubbed up for Easter vigil tonight. A
nice glass of sherry sits beside me.
The sun is setting over the barn.
Life is good.
May you and your family be abundantly blessed this Easter!