This afternoon, my daughter and I got working on the remaining potato beds.
The first bed I worked on was the mid season Bridget potatoes. They have been ready to harvest for a while, now.
Based on how things went after harvesting the early season Caribe potatoes, my expectations were very low, but it needed to be done.
I started off by pulling away the straw mulch. Most of the plants I dug up had nothing under them, but every now and then…
…I would pull back the straw, and there would be these lovely little potatoes, just sitting on top of the cardboard layer!
We had company while we were working.
This little bugger kept trying to climb my daughter while she was using the garden fork!
This one was content to just be held, but we had to put him down so we could work. It was so cute to seem him starting to fall asleep among the summer squash!
The soil was greatly improved since we first made these “instant garden” beds with the cardboard and straw. Granted, two days of almost constant, gentle rain did help soften the ground a lot, but it was much easier to dig into the soil with the garden fork. There were lots of worms and while I saw slugs, there wasn’t as much as I’d seen with that first bed I’d harvested.
The late season All Blue potatoes had more of a return.
This is it. We had 10 pounds of each type of potato. I doubt we got the same amount back. Certainly now with the Bridget potatoes.
One of the reasons I chose these varieties is because they are good for storage, but with so few of them, that’s not going to happen. Normally, we’d cure them, then bring them inside, but these got a wash down and we’ll be eating them right away.
Though we got more of the All Blue, we might actually have less. Unlike the Bridget, quite a few had insect damage. They also had scab on quite a few of them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen scab on potatoes grown here before, even when I was a kid.
The straw got loosely returned to the bed. There may not have been a lot of potatoes, but there was an insane amount of crab grass rhizomes. We tried to pull out as much as we could as we worked, but that is something that requires a lot to get rid off. For now, the straw is back to try and keep them from getting worse.
I am thinking that these beds are a good place to build some permanent squash tunnels. At the very least, we can use the path between the beds as the path inside a tunnel. Though this has been a terrible year for the squash, we got enough growth that I could see which ones are the most enthusiastic climbers. I look forward to trying them again. For the permanent squash tunnels, I plant to make low raised beds on the outside. Since we wouldn’t be able to access the beds from the inside of the tunnel, they would only be two feet wide, with a four foot wide path inside the tunnel. I think I would like to build at least three tunnels, though we might not be able to get them all done this fall. They are going to be a lot stronger than the ones we slapped together to start with, though even those lasted longer than we expected them to.
Now that the potatoes are harvested, and since the melons in these beds are a loss, we can actually go ahead and start building something in this area as soon as we can.