Something interesting has happened with the potatoes. The first to be planted were the Dark Red Norlands and French Fingerlings. They were planted in the new bed that hadn't really been prepared after the original tilling. So Diane and I placed the seed potatoes in shallow trenches with cardboard between the rows to keep down the weeds and a mulch of leaves I had collected in the fall. The Yukon Gold, Blue and Banana Fingerlings were planted a week later in a portion of the new bed that had benefitted from an extra week under the black tarp. These potatoes were planted in deeper trenches and I'm hoeing the soil between the rows to hill up these potatoes. This past weekend as I was checking for potato bugs and their eggs I found about 9 out of 10 plants in the second plot had clusters of eggs on the under side of the leaves and I discoverd about 10 potato bugs amongst the 5 rows. I crushed the eggs with my fingers and deposited the adult bugs in glass jars. The potatoes with the cardboard and leaf mulch had absolutely no bugs or eggs! Really interesting. It's too bad there are so many variables; planting time, different types of potatoes and the mulching method. So it's hard to be absolutely sure what to attribute the huge difference to. But definitely worth keeping in mind for other years.
|Potatoes mulched with cardboard and dead leaves|
Another interesting contrast is the difference between the sunflowers I transplanted on the south end of both potato beds. The first ones were planted south of the cardboard mulched potatoes. They are in the shadow of the bigtooth aspen for the first half of each day. The sunflowers at the end of the other bed were planted a week later but get full sun all day and are probably twice as tall and much more vigorous.
|Sunflowers with full sun are at the bottom and the ones with a half day of shade are above|
|Fava beans in boom|
|The heirloom Golden Snow pea in bloom|
|The aptly named snow pea Desiree|
|Indeterminate heirloom tomatoes tied in with strips of old bed sheets|
|Tomato in bloom|
|The first beets on the left, beet seedlings on the right with an edge of chard at the bottom|
The pole beans have all emerged and every day you can see a gain in height. Very soon they should start to wind their way around the bamboo pole teepees.
|The pole bean Violetta di Trionfo|
|Cranberry Pole Beans at the base of the support and, sown a week later, a row of bush beans on the right|
The cucumbers are just trying to adjust to a more brutal life buffeted by the elements after their coddled infancy in pots sheltered by the gazebo.
|Climbing cucumbers planted at the base of a twine support|
|Peppers in the hotbox|
|Eggplants in their hotbox|