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Meat and potatoes

May 21, 2008

That is what our garden is – just your basic old vegetable garden.  Full of workhorses and not too many gourmet delicacies.  It feeds us year-round though, but you won’t find low performers in our garden more than a year, or two at most.

Before the rain on Tuesday, we planted 50# of potatoes.  I plant the seed potatoes whole, so I don’t lose any if we get a cool start to summer.  Two varieties, Viking Purple, and Red Gold 
do well in our soil, a new variety, Romance sounded good, so we’ll see.

We also planted 4, 90′ rows of Harris Model parsnips for the family cows.  This variety is open-pollinated, so I can use these for seed saving next year.  Last winter I used 2, 90′ rows, this winter I will have 2 cows to supplement, so we increased the amount planted.  Feeds and Feeding mentions feeding parnsips on the Isles of Jersey and Guernsey for dairy animals, the only drawback being the difficulty of harvesting.  I read between the lines on this tidbit of information – they meant difficult to be profitable to harvest.  I’m doing this by hand, not harvesting a large amount, it is not difficult.  Couple this with the fact that these roots will not freeze and lose quality, makes this a great alternative to grain for us.  I’ve tried mangels and sugar beets, and found them harder to harvest and they freeze easily.  The cows also had severe diarrhea if I fed more than 1/2 a large mangel.  We also got in 2, 90′ rows of Red Cored Chantenay  carrots for the milk cows.  These I will hill soil over, for freezing protection and like the parsnips, harvest as needed.  No root cellar required.  We harvested the final carrots from last year 2 weeks ago.  I saw a few we missed, when I tilled, the quality looked good enough to eat if we had to… .

For us, I planted 3# of Stuttgart yellow onion sets for our large keeping onions. This amount was enough to plant 2, 90′ rows.   I just cooked the last one on Sunday.  I still have potato onions left for cooking that will keep quite a while longer.  They are showing no signs of sprouting yet.

Me and Allis go way back!

This was taken in our main garden, that I just tilled this weekend.   ca. 1958

I’m still sitting on a tractor seat, different tractor and garden though.

I planted the potatoes here on Monday, following corn last year.

Barn swallows.

Spider vs. Carpenter Ant.

 Things I pondered this weekend?  What is worse?  When the tractor seat is left down so the seat is so hot it burns you?  Or when the toilet seat is left up and you fall in!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristen permalink
    May 22, 2008 4:53 am

    I am thinking the toilet seat because at my house none of my kids are in the wonderful habbit of flushing.. 🙂 But burnt buns isn’t any fun either!

  2. May 22, 2008 9:15 am

    I’m going with the toilet seat too:) I have a question for you. Do you think planting the whole potato will yield more in the end. I’ve often wondered but never really check to see. This year I didn’t end up with as much seed so I cut them up but we don’t often lose a crop to getting too wet in this country:(

  3. May 22, 2008 9:19 am

    I covet your climate. Using the earth as a cold cellar — is there anything better? I also covet your tractor. Oh, and your fencing skills, and your decades of farming experience, and, and … LOL. Maybe in my next life.

  4. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    May 22, 2008 10:16 am

    Kristen, I agree with you and Linda, the toilet seat is worse. At least I’m on the tractor in the daylight. (Most of the time) 😉

    Linda, I don’t know for sure on the potatoes, if I’m low on seed I will cut them up, but it would stand to reason that more food for the plant would make it produce more. Our summer weather is sometimes so variable, it is hard to make much more than an educated guess sometimes on what helps or hurts the yield. This year the flea beetles didn’t attack the tomatoes as soon as I planted them, I have several theories but I don’t know for sure why.

    AMWD – This is the end of the Oregon Trail, with the land of plenty at the terminus. Though, I’d be careful about coveting our climate, a lot of people can’t stand the cloudy drizzly days. I think your area is colder in the winter, but we have more clouds, making it hard to implement popular systems here, like Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest. On the other stuff, sometimes I feel like I have already come back and this is my second life here on this land. These feelings are strange when they pop up, but welcome nonetheless.
    My daughter is coveting Linda’s dry climate and wide open spaces! Sigh, I could just use a little more sun, it’s been raining hard since Tuesday…

  5. May 22, 2008 11:23 am

    And I’m coveting your hoop houses. Every time I see your photos, I get envious!

    Question: what’s the latest you can plant the parsnips to still have them grown for winter harvest? Any idea?

    Also, dare I ask? Jetta? News?

  6. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    May 22, 2008 5:11 pm

    Danielle, if we were travelers, I suppose every one of those greenhouses would represent a trip somewhere. But, we are sticks in the mud and built greenhouses, instead!

    I never have any luck with over-winter crops that are direct seeded after the Summer Solstice. Our Septembers sometimes are rainy and cloudy the entire month. Not much growing going on when that happens. You are further south, so you might be able to get away with a later date. OP Parsnips are about 120 days to maturity.

    As for Jetta, I called the vet to chat, and he said the bull could throw late calves, or I wrote down the wrong date, or if I would quit obsessing she would have it. So, I’ll go out on a limb and say Saturday!

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