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Monday, April 24, 2006

Taters and Onions

A shot of a trench with seed potatoes waiting to be covered. In the background is our neighbor's farm (the white buildings)

It has been yet another beautiful spring day so we decided it would be a good time to plant taters and the rest of the yellow onion sets we saved from last year's crop.

Eugene "chitted" (i.e. cut up) the spuds about 7 days ago after letting them sit in a well lit room for over a month to green up. In the past we chitted within 24 hours of planting, sometimes while we were out in the field planting. But I was reading some comments on the Sustainable Ag listserv by Robin Follette and she said she chitted at least a week before planting. This caused the sprouting eyes to make rootlets which is something we want, so we will be chitting earlier than later in the future.

Went up to the field with 3 bread trays of potatoes. One had french fingerling, another had early white and the third had pontiac red. Eugene decided the trenches were not deep enough so he took the potato fork and dug out more dirt and I went behind him with a rake and raked the dirt out of the trench. Did this for 6 50' beds. After that was done we started putting the potatoes in the trenches and that is when we were called away from work by a guy by the road. He sells produce at the 127/40 intersection and was checking us out and wanted to see if we wanted to sell him any produce. We said probably not and talked with him for about 20 minutes than went back to work. Got the first 2 trenches filled with taters and were starting on the 3rd and 4th trenches when out next door neighbor, whom we had not met, walked across his field to introduce himself. He was pleased that we had cleaned up most of the junk that had been sitting in the field and told us he had farmed our farm back in the early 1950's but since than it had been in pasture. We made small talk for a few minutes than we went back to work and he walked back across the field to his home. We finished up setting the potatoes and Eugene started covering them with soil.

After that took a break, drank water and than planted the onion sets. Normally we do onion from seed because you get bigger and better quality onions. And we did start several hundred onions and leeks from seed this year. But because we did not have seed for all the kinds of onions we wanted to grow we used sets as well. And since we we had a lot of tiny onions left over from last year's crop and they are the perfect size for replanting we have planted a lot of sets as well. So now we have about 3 beds on onion sets growing and looking quite good to boot. We also have a bed of onion seedlings though it is mostly sweet onions, not the yellow cooking type (aka hot onions).

Planting onion sets is pretty straight forward. Place them 6" apart and push them firmly into the ground, repeat 400 more times and you are done.

We also had a banner morning for mouse trapping. Trapped 3 of them, one in the house and two in the seed room (and with no further damage to any seedlings or seeds) plus Trina, our clawless cat, caught a mouse around 4am in our bedroom (or maybe brought it upstairs to show us, I dunno). We do not know if she was successful in killing the vermin (she has no claws after all and no one had ever taught her how to hunt until Navin came into her life just 7 months ago) but at the very least she scared it badly. It was squeaking in terror while we sleepily told Trina what a good kitty she was for catching the mouse.

Maybe this eveing we will do a bit of fishing in the pond (which is now full of black tadpoles hugging the edges trying not to become some fish's meal). I was watching several largish fish swim around that looked like the would be fun to catch. We seem to have 5 or 6 bass-like fish that are better than 15" long and many large bluegill as well.

1 comment:

ConservativeTrail Head said...

Great looking topsoil. Be sure to post pics of growth in that rich soil.