Potato bags and other accomplishments

Potato growing in a burlap sack - 2010 growing season

Got home on Friday from our trip to Breitenbush Hot Springs (exactly the rest and relaxation I needed) – to some decent gardening weather on the weekend. I spent Saturday cleaning out my sewing room closet and working on finishing a quilt. Sunday was all outdoors, even though I was still in vacation mode and didn’t really want to!

But at least I can post some accomplishments from yesterday’s garden session. Brian got a hole dug in the front yard for the pond we are putting in – which doesn’t look like much right at the moment so I don’t have any pictures to post.

I finished the irrigation set-up in the backyard which now means I can water almost everything with a single turn of the tap (and my neighbour won’t be so annoyed by his lawn being wetted by our sprinkler). I’ve still got a few more spray-heads to put in to ensure even watering – but the basic system is finally done! (If you are interested in doing this easily and affordably – check out the Lee Valley kits for mail-order. These are easily expandable with all other Lee Valley watering components ).

Also, I made up eight potato bags (pictured above) from burlap sacks kicking around the basement (I over-ordered last year). This is my prefered way of growing potatoes even though the burlap is not reusable from year to year (the water rots the burlap, but it is compostable). Many years ago I planted in old tires, but since then have become a bit edgy about the toxicity leaching from the black rubber – so I prefer this method. One of these years I may actually invest in re-usable potato bags… but burlap is cheap! I’ve gone ahead and ordered another ten bags from West Coast Seeds since I’ve still got lots of seed potatoes to throw around.

And on top of all that, I was offered two more garden plots yesterday afternoon through some strange machinations of the universe. First of all, my new neighbours (renters on the non-crazy-person side of our house) have a garden plot in the backyard that they intended to plant but now feel overwhelmed by. Yesterday, they mentioned to Brian that they would hate it to go to waste…. and he suggested they talk to me about whether I would want to work it or not. I haven’t followed up on it yet because I’m not sure about the whole gardening in the neighbour’s yard thing….. but I love the idea of doing it and sharing produce. It is a small sunny plot, and only a day’s work to get it into shape and planted with something – though the soil could use some serious livening up so there would be a bit of money for soil ammending to throw down.

The second offer came out of the blue from Pandora Park Community Garden who have offered me a 5 x 10 plot. I had totally forgotten that a friend of mine said she’d put me on the waiting list for a plot there months ago but was really glad to be offered this space so I immediately said YES! And now I’ve got to pay my membership fee and get down there to check it out as soon as possible.

As much as my own garden is a lot of work, the notion of having more space to grow food is very appealing to me -and I’d really like more room for winter storage vegetables like squash, and cucumbers for pickling. Additionally brussels sprouts, fall cabbage, overwintering onions, kholrabi, and corn are all things I would like room for – and I wouldn’t mind being able to produce enough to give more away this summer. So I’m excited to have one confirmed extra plot at the moment and am going to talk to the neighbours about what their expectations might be if I was to take on their garden plot this summer. Both of these mean more work in the short-term that I’m going to have to fit into my schedule, but I’m pretty optimistic about the possibilities. I think if I make up a schedule for each garden (stopping in before or after work every third day) than I should be able to manage it.

My garden goals for this week include planting beets and carrots, drafting up a front-yard garden plan, and getting things sorted with the Pandora Garden folks. Yee haw! Spring!

2 Comments on “Potato bags and other accomplishments

  1. Just wondering when you seeded your potato sack? Its the first time planting in the sacks for me and I’ve seen nothing sprouting so I am hoping that the starters didn’t rot.

    • The photo above is from last year. I did plant a few potatoes four weeks ago in black pots and they are just starting to sprout now. I transferred those into sacks on the weekend too.

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