A total of twelve tomatoes have survived and thrived in containers and it is well past time to get them into the garden where they will be able to stretch out their roots and their tops. About half of the plants already have tomatoes set on and hopefully they will not get too upset about this move which could cause the plants to drop the fruit rather than growing to the ripe stage.
As I was setting up the tires for as the framework for the row of potatoes, my feline supervisor tested each tire in the row. Momma Cat is the oldest and I believe wisest of the barn cats, she is also the friendliest (when she is not in a swiping kind of mood) and definitely the most curious of the gaggle.
I haven’t quite figured out her motives but suspect that she may be testing for balance to make sure each tire is firmly level on the ground, or if she is determining the sun intensity on each tire plot, or if she was just wanting to get her behind warmed as I plodded and placed tires along the string row marker.
Now that the front garden plot has been worked up with first the tractor then finely tilled with the walk behind rototiller, the row of tires has been placed one swath wide from the northern edge of the plot.
The vertical growing potatoes can have extra tires stacked on top, but only one or two more. If the stack gets higher than that the potato plants get choked out and the end result would be a pile of tires filled with dirt but no tubers (I learned the hard way).
There are several advantages to growing potatoes in tires, it makes weeding easier (this is very important to me). Also the plants and tubers are neatly contained so if someone wanted to help with weeding they would be less confused about the difference between spud and weed. The tires make a good barrier for those ground dwelling rodents that are attracted to the below ground goodies. And the best advantage is that for harvest, all one has to do is flip over a tire or two and the spuds are right there in the open instead of digging with a shovel and missing some good ones.
I have been working through the garden row of potatoes by digging one hill/tire at a time as we need them. The half of row that did not get enough water early in the season had good spuds but not very big or very many.
Most of the time I don’t bother with peeling, just a quick vegetable brush over them. I am now working on the second half of the row, this is the area that did get enough water during the times the irrigation was on and the crop is much better.
The potatoes are bigger and more plentiful and we are enjoying hash browns, oven fries, and potato soup on a regular basis.
I had accidentally missed the corner of the garden during the last heat spell. The potatoes were overlooked. The irrigation is turned only when the stock tanks need to be filled and the error with the sprinklers caused the problem.
I’ll give them as much time as possible, but will soon be harvesting the half row and will continue to check sprinklers during the times that I have the irrigation running. (PS as you can see, the pig weeds have no problem growing with or without water, maybe I’m growing the wrong crop)
I had assumed that I was going to be digging baby red potatoes for and evening meal. I was surprised that the reds had grown almost to baking potato size and had to improvise my meal.
Instead of parsley-ed baby reds, I cut the large tubers in half and scored the cut edge.
In a large baking dish (this one was 13 x 11), I dribbled a little melted butter, crushed garlic, onion, parsley and some Parmesan cheese. You can easily add crumbled bacon and some sour cream if you wanted.
The potatoes are layered scored side down on the bottom layers of stuffing ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes when a fork can easily penetrate the spuds.
Each half baked potato comes out with its own toppings already baked into the scored surface and it takes less time than baking them whole.
Some of the potatoes are not so baby, I was surprised by just how much growth there was under a plant that was still trying to produce the underground tubers.
I had just harvested a head of broccoli that weighed about a pound and a half. Since it all headed out at the same time, I needed to come up with a meal that would use up the proliferation. This is where the garden and my freezer come in handy.
Large Crockpot Beef Broccoli
Overnight slow cook the toughest cut roast you can find in 1/2 c. soy sauce and 1 cup pulped Yellow Transparent Apple, garlic, onion.
Around noon, remove roast from crockpot and chop into bite size chunks
Reserve a cup of the meat juice from the pot and return chunked roast to crockpot still on low
! 1/2 hours before dinner, raid the garden
I added chopped potatoes, summer squash, kale, tomatoes, the whole pound and a half of broccoli and the handful of Chanterelle Mushrooms that I had left from my walk in the woods.
I mixed the reserved meat juice with 3 Tablespoons of Corn Starch for thickening, a splash of rice vinegar and added it to the crockpot.
Dinner was ready right on time, and my day was not spent in the kitchen.