Still having’ winter

A few months back I mentioned that I had planted a potato that had developed sprouting eyes. From one potato I got 5 new plants that appeared healthy and happy. One of Nancy’s friends advised that I was wasting my time and space because termites invariably got the potato tubers. Whatever. I had the time and space and zero investment so why not try. All was going well until about 2 weeks ago when I noticed the plants were, apparently, being eaten by something and the leaves turned to lace almost overnight. Then the stems turned yellow and it was clear they were done for. I dug them up today and lo and behold there were some nice potato tubers. I’d say the space was about 3’ x 5’ and yielded in the neighborhood of 5 pounds of spuds. No signs of termites or any other critter damage. Within about 15 minutes of harvesting the potatoes I replanted the patch with new lettuce seed. It’s only the second of January so there will be plenty of time for a crop.

We’re having winter this week and it was in the mid 40’s early this AM. Just what we needed to attack bugs and get the spec’s in the egg laying mood. It also provided the first opportunity to try out some winter gear I got for Christmas. Tom got me a pair of gloves and a matching watch cap – double thick, heavy duty wool. Straight from Bass Pro Shops. Wow! It was downright toasty taking the trash out this morning and combining two compost piles into one big one. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever get cold enough to break out the big guns. I’m ready – bring it on!! I doubled down on my strategy of planting seeds way too early and started some peppers and eggplants a full two months too soon. Just laying out more temptation for the frost gods to do their thing.

Another fundamental change I’m going to implement for 2016 is to go after the garden bugs with more fury. In the past I’ve “shared” the crop with them but this past year they got greedy and consumed more than half of the production. I’ve ordered an organic bug spray, neem oil. It’s a natural product – I guess extract of the neem plant – and is advertised to repel a large variety of bugs, fungi and mildew. I’ve really never believed in this type of repellant but want to try something so my plan is to spray as soon as the first set of leaves appear but only on those crops that have suffered most from the predators – squash and tomatoes. The bugs seem to leave peppers and eggplant alone so I’ll spare them the spray.

Nancy took 5 large bags of greens to the bridge gals today. They are mostly widows, 80+ years old who really appreciate the fresh veggies. This delivery included two varieties of kale, lettuce, collards, NZ spinach, and kohlrabi greens. The lettuce, kale and collards will be familiar items but the other goodies will have them scratching their heads. I kept the kohlrabi tuber for our own use – raw, cut in pieces for salad. In about 2 weeks the delivery will add turnip greens- they really love turnip greens. Yesterday she took lettuce and collards to her quilting buddy who reciprocated with a bag of sweet potatoes.

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