Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Homestead Update

About those potatoes....

Do you remember the potato harvest from last fall?  We had several buckets full of three different varieties.  We put each variety in its own plastic bin and covered them with layers of sawdust.

it helps to have a friend who is a carpenter; we get as much of this as we want.

Then we put them in a cool, dark corner in the basement.

One day over the winter I went to the basement to get something off the shelf and looked down to discover this:

I did not expect them to start sprouting this much.  I told Mr. Marvelous.  He nodded and grunted.

A few days later, I told Mr. Marvelous again.  He patiently explained that our potatoes are not treated with the chemicals that store potatoes are treated with to keep them from sprouting.  I asked if we could use these for seed potatoes.  He said probably not.  

Finally Mr. Marvelous went down to the basement and looked into my potato bins.  Apparently a visual inspection is worth a lot more than a report from the wife!

The decision was made to see what we could do with growing potatoes in bins.

First you carefully remove the sprouting potatoes


Then you cut a piece of fine mesh from where you made screens for the back porch.

Add a piece of that to the bottom of the bin.

Then place a layer or two of dirt and sawdust to the bottom of the bin,


then ever so gently and carefully add the potatoes back in.

Cover them up with alternating layers of dirt and sawdust

You get the idea, right? 

Do you need more pictures of alternating layers? 

Are you sure?

Okay then.

Now put those bins back in a quiet corner until the weather is warmer.

Or if your husband is as handy as Mr. Marvelous, and you have a back porch greenhouse, then put them on the back porch.  Just be sure to give them a good bit of water.

When the weather warms up enough, drag the bins outside and put them in the sunshine.  If it starts acting like it is going to freeze again, drag them back in the basement and wait a few more days. 

If you live in Vermont and it is still snowing, you might have to drag them in and out every day for another month.  Or two.  Depending on how much you like home-grown potatoes.

Now wait.  That's the hard part of gardening.  It helps to have other projects going on at the same time.  In a few weeks, you will walk outside one day and discover this

Green leaves.  Strong, healthy potato plants.  Something growing.

That is a nice cure for the winter doldrums!

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