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Hi, I am Terri, and it has been a while  RSS feed

 
Posts: 505
Location: Eastern Kansas
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I got busy, and there is always so much to do that has nothing t do with permaculture or homesteading. But, my son moved out 2 years ago and my daughter got married last summer, and so I have taken this entire summer off to do homesteading things. This is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time! So this summer I am doing it.

Mind, I am handicapped so the time I can physically work at it is very limited, but I am having a very good time with it. I mostly just walk with a cane

I have turned some totes and largish pots into a self watering garden on my back deck, and I have both flowers and edibles out there. I made them out of totes by drilling a small hole a few inches up from the bottom and them putting some small flower pots upside down inside, to give a spot where the water can be stored. I water them about once a week to fill that reservoir. For the flower pots I ALSO put a small po inside te larger pot and I put it upside down, and I set them in saucers that hold about 2 inches of water.  

I have also made 2 long, shallow raised beds in my garden that I planted to potatos and then I put some other veggies in the spots where the potatos failed. I did harvest the earlier potatos but I think the heat killed the tops, as it is remarkably hot ths year. I ended getting just twice the weight of potatos that I planted but then I planted some o the smaller potatos back where I dug them in the hopes of getting a late autumn harvest as well. I also bought a package of mini-potatos from the store and I put them in a bag with an apple to encourage sprouting: I will plant those just 6 inches apart in an attempt to get a lot of tiny potatos this Fall as well.

To fill the raised beds  I used some soil that had been dumped after the ground was leveled so that a shed could be put in. The beds are only about 6 inches deep as the taller beds are hard to keep watered. And, at the BASE of the bed there is a spot that will be slow to dry out: I already harvested the early corn that I grew there and I have a nice muskmelon swelling that I hope I get to eat before the raccoons find it.

I also did some small repair jobs around the place, and spent more time in the kitchen as I have much more produce this year. And, I am working on making the garden more efficient s I will grow weaker, over time.

This is harder work than I expected, but I am proud of what I have accomplished.  I am not sure how much of it would be considered permaculture excepting for the 2 new trees that I planted, but I am having fun. Alas, while I did get a strawberry  harvest some late freezes killed most of my tree fruit blossoms. AGAIN!

Things I will be working on later this year include putting in more raised beds that are only a foot deep. It is very easy to drop grass clippings and such in them, and they do not dry out as quickly as the deeper raised beds. I did put wood into the deep beds to try for a huglekulture effect but they dry out too quickly anyways: beds that are 6 inches to a foot deep are working better for me. It also means that I have to move less dirt. I move the dirt with plastic bags and a scooter cart, but it still tires me out. I also drop in the weeds that I pull to make the soil better.

Also, and this is NOT permaculture, I put stout woven weed barrier under the raised beds. That means the potatos stay on top of the weed barrier while the roots can go through the wave of the weed barrier and into the soil below. That means that I can dig the potatos up with a trowel unless I simply pull the entire plant up and pick the potatos off of the roots: my shovel days are over.

So, I am back and I am looking forward to seeing what you folks have been doing!
 
garden master
Posts: 907
Location: SW Missouri
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Hi Terry! Glad you are back!!
I got hit with the late freeze too, I think everyone did. Made a mess of a LOT of things.

Have you ever seen the bit about growing potatoes in a barrel? You might like it! Easier than digging. Hmm... I have a rowdy sprouting sweet potato in my garage, last of last year's harvest, maybe I'll see if it works with sweet potatoes too.  Potatoes in a barrel, Mother Earth News   I bet a tote would work well too, especially with a water reservoir, and it will match your set. :D
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 505
Location: Eastern Kansas
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I have tried potatos in deep mulch but the results were not good. I did NOT get potatos all up the stem.

I have since heard that it works better for late season potatos because they are generally indeterminate,  but it is too late for me to try that this year. All of my late season potatos are up and growing, and after the stem has been exposed to light long enough they will not put out stolons along that length of stem.

I do want to try it again using a late variety: maybe next year
 
gardener
Posts: 2279
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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I think the potato tower idea in it's many incarnations works with some varieties of potatoes a lot better than others which don't work at all.  I haven't experimented with it, but I heard of a lot of people not having success with this method, and I suspect, but do not know for sure, that it has something to do with the varieties. It might also have something to do with having the right amount of moisture so that the potato wants to produce side shoots off the stem.   Not sure.  But some people definitely do have problems with this method. 
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2279
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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Glad to see you back on here and posting about your projects, Terri.  :)
 
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