Thursday, 19 May 2011

Planting Marathon

I was incredibly fortunate to receive a large quantity of seed potatoes from our neighbour recently.  He gardens organically and has done so for a great many years on his land across the road from us.   I am particularly fond of this beauty - he calls them simply "The Blues".  Have you ever grown a blue potato?  Do they change color while cooking?  How are they best cooked (baked, boiled)?

I've been given two varieties of red skinned potatoes, 2 varieties of yellow fleshed potatoes, a purple skinned potato, Russets, Fingerlings and some very interesting seed stock that he bought on a recent trip to Washington state in the US.  That particular potato seed is VERY tiny and yellow skinned, but it looks quite different from any other potato I've seen so I'm curious to see them grow and eventually, taste them.

So ~ on top of planting 240 feet of potatoes, yesterday I managed to plant:

Bush beans (Venture, Landreth, French Heirloom, and one other bush I can't remember)
Peas (Pilot, Sapporo, Hungarian Shelling, Manitoba Bush)
Beets (Red Ace, Bulls Blood, Golden)
Lettuce (20 blend mix)
Spinach (can't remember variety)

.... and my husband helped me plant 320 feet of carrot seed after supper last night (Danvers, Chantenay, St. Valery, Scarlet Nantes).  We had rain forecasted overnight and we wanted to get as many seeds planted as we could to take advantage of it.  Alas, after all that effort, all we got was a very gusty night with just a light sprinkling of rain :(

The mosquitoes are terrible this year. With all the moisture and standing water from such a massive snow melt this Spring, they are breeding like crazy.  I had to resort to spraying my clothing and hat with bug spray while gardening yesterday or there would have been nothing left of me at the end of the day!  I can hear plenty of frogs in the pastures and fields nearby (still lots of standing water) which will help bring down the population, but I'm thinking we need to build a few bat houses to try and encourage them to come and feast near our house.  Any tips or suggestions to help reduce the mosquito population naturally?

This is the gorgeous view I woke to this morning.  You can see the standing water in the pasture just across our road (running horizontally through the centre of the bottom picture).  I can hear thousands of frogs croaking over there, and the songbirds are chirping cheerfully already.  The misty haze over the pasture is the result of that little bit of rain we received last night.  It's beautiful and so peaceful.  I'm blissfully happy to be living here, tucked away from the noise and hustle bustle of city life.  

I'm covered in bites and stiff as a board, hobbling around this morning like a woman much older than 42.  Early spring gardening always rudely informs me of how out of shape I am after a long winter.  My daily 20 minute exercise routine is clearly nothing compared to digging in the garden all day, bending, hauling planting and lifting.  I suppose one of the benefits of gardening is the exercise, and based on how I feel this morning, I can certainly use it   **ahem**

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