Captain’s log: April 8th 2019

There’s a real difference between winter rain and spring rain. All the rain we’ve been having has been winter rain- but today’s shower was a spring shower.

The view from my window was nice and green, and while I got a little wet while checking on things outside, it’s a gentle rain.

A few days ago I got my second blackberry plant. I have been reliably informed that since blackberries of all species and varieties grow practically feral all over San Francisco, you actually can get away with one vine, as the pollinators will no doubt have some blackberry pollen on them when they visit.

I like symmetry however. Also- this means I could have two Marionberry vines as I wouldn’t need to get a second of a different variety!

One problem. This was the only Marionberry left at the garden center.

Blackberries are an investment in the future anyways. I put some coffee grounds under the mulch to give the soil an extra acidic kick, and the mulch should help reduce how much I have to water and weed.

Of course this extra moistness is not so great for the squash monster. Wet leaves are not great for zucchini- but there’s not a damn thing I can do about it so we’ll just have to see how bad it gets.

Even the baby zucchini don’t look so hot, though they’re definitely growing. All I want is to be up to my eyeballs in squash! Is that too much to ask for?

I am up to my eyeballs in sage.

Delightful! Berggarten sage is such a grower in spring, it has that lovely silver green color and such nice wide leaves.

In other good herb news the lemon balm has rebounded. I might regret having put it into a bed- it is mint after all, but ha ha too late to fix that now!

The cilantro I sowed is starting to come up. This is the lightweight pot I made heavier with rocks and so far I can confirm- hasn’t gotten blown over again!

The sauce pot is starting to bloom like crazy. Again- there are only a handful of bees out this early, especially because of how winter dragged on, but sauce pots gonna sauce pot.

This is the first sungold flower. I have nothing bad to say about this, sungold can do no wrong. If it wants to flower early, clearly it knows best.

The new potato bags are starting to sprout nicely, and the old potato bags are almost all filled up with soil.

Super happy about the potatoes.

I’m also super happy about the cauliflower.

I’ve never grown these before and I’m glad they seem to be taking. The Bok Choy are taking of course- but that’s not a surprise.

They seem to really like their new bed, which is nice. Supposedly the fabric beds make for more aerated roots and less water-logging so hopefully that helps them grow well.

The peas are starting to climb well. I have a feeling these are going to end up trailing up the fence. I might have to get some eyelets and wire so there’s a good support on the fence.

Might have to do that with the blackberries too- once they crawl up the bamboo supports to the fence.

While I did have to sacrifice the sassy salad pot for the black krim tomato luckily I haven’t had to sacrifice the arugula pot yet. Which is great as I am going to have to sacrifice the upper arugula bed for beans and beets soon, and I love arugula.

I’ll leave you with the view of my blackberry patch. Which just makes me happy to look at. Even if will be a year or two before I get a berry.

Potatoes for the new year

Happy new year!

Let’s plant potatoes!

These potatoes to be specific, just a couple of good waxy potatoes from the grocery store that I’ve been ripening in a paper bag with a banana.

In order to make planting easier I cut the non sprouted end off.

Now- you can totally wait till your potatoes are desiccated and green and the sprouts are the length of the potato- and the more sprouted your potato the quicker it will grow. I’m just impatient so this is good enough for me.

(To be fair you can also just cut a fresh potato and as long as there’s at least one “eye” it will grow- eventually)

There is one concern with store bought potatoes and that’s the minor chance the food potato has some sort of agriculture disease of fungal thing that’s harmless to people but definitely a concern for growing. That’s why if you’re gonna do this I would actually recommend using a seed potato. The problem is… the only seed potatoes that would arrive in a week as opposed to a month were ones where I’d have to order like 10 and I have two bags.

And I’m terribly impatient.

But if you decide to be impatient…

Here’s a little insurance.

You take the cut potatoes and put them in a paper bag, and put a shake of agricultural sulfur in. Shake it up- and hopefully the sulfur kills any possible fungal or bacteria contaminant. It’s not foolproof- but it’s good insurance.

These are the bags, they tend to be made of plastic or canvas, and have drainage holes in the bottom, and this type has a Velcro window so you can reach in and take potatoes out without disturbing the plant.

The trick is to roll down the edges of the bag til it’s about a third of the height, and filling it with 3-4 inches of soil.

Then you place your sulfur dusted potato halves on top and cover with 1-2 inches of soil.

Water well- and in a few weeks the first plants should come up.

Once the plant is large, you roll the edges of the bag up and fill with more soil, leaving a small few leaves on top. All the covered leaves will turn into potatoes!

Just repeat until the bag is fully un-folded and the bag is completely full of soil. Then once the plants have grown for some time at full height and dies back- you can pick your potatoes! I like to pick mine a little early so I can have some fingerlings. That’s the beauty of the window into the bag, you can take out a few fingerlings early but leave others in to become full size potatoes.

Happy New Years!

Grow potatoes!

Here’s a January 1st ladybug.