Friday, 15 April 2011

in the garden :: a lesson for us all

growth starting to die back
The 'top growth' is starting to die back.

With the nets off, it's easy to see that the plants have actually died back more than I originally thought. Much of the growth was being held up by the nets.

bandicooting
I've donned my big kitchen gloves {there's lots of creepy crawlies in this soil ~ very good that is, but not to touch and not to be bitten by} and I'm starting to investigate what lies beneath.

spuds!
Eureka!

skimming...
Spuds!

But wait, before this appears like I am the master gardener, let me continue::

I must admit, sometimes gardening and my garden leaves me feeling so stupid. Take my potatoes for instance; I have read so many articles on how to grow potatoes, and the many experienced gardeners in my life have said to mound my spuds {jo, aren't you going to mound your spuds a bit more?} You know, heap the dirt up around the base of the plant; and I did {sorta}, but all the while I was aware that my spuds were already in the raised beds, so they had heaps if room to grow their bounty within the soil already in the bed. Right?

So I thought...

{and this is the bit where I feel so stupid, so please refrain from reading on if you are a seasoned potato grower, but if you're not, please do read on and let my stupidity teach you a valuable lesson}

I mistakenly believed that the potato plants would grow down, that the potatoes formed at the base of the seed potato. Ha! Not so. What actually forms at the base of the seed potato is roots, roots for the plant to obtain nutrients with which to grow. What grows out of the top of the plant, the long vine(y) branches is where the tubers {or spuds} grow... so when all the books say "mound your spuds" they ain't kidding! Because it is in that mound where the spuds grow and need to be protected from light. {Duh!} Here, let me illustrate...

lessons learned in the garden

Now that I've had the wool pulled from my eyes by digging up one of my own plants, I now know just how it works, but of course, now I feel so STUPID that I just didn't get it before... and {sob, sob} now my harvest is going to be so much smaller because of my said stupidity {although my bestie assures me that he didn't mound his last crop, and he still got p.l.e.n.t.y of yummy potatoes out of his soil}

So next time, I will be planting my spuds in much shallower soil, and then mounding from there, just like it says in the books.

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Yes I get it now, loud and clear.