Monday, January 28, 2013

The Cedar Moon

It's the first full moon of 2013, and it's been very warm lately. We haven't gotten significant rain since that good storm we had around New Year's Day, but for the last couple of weeks or so highs have been in the high 70's and low 80's. I wonder if this is going to be one of those years where it's warm in January, and then in February we have an ice storm.
Friday I got my seed potatoes from I got three pounds each of Purple Viking and Red Pontiac, both varieties that are supposed to do well in the South. Purple Viking was the best potato I grew back in 2010, though it still wasn't that great (I planted 3 pounds and harvested 5 pounds). I haven't grown Red Pontiac before, but it's a Florida heirloom, which sounds good.

Here are the seed potatoes being cut up. The Purple Vikings are on the left, and the Red Pontiac are ready to be cut up next on the right. I cut them and let them dry out for a day, then planted them in the bed that I had a cover crop of Austrian Winter Peas growing in over the winter. I hope that adds enough nitrogen to help them make a better crop this year than the last time I tried growing potatoes.

Here the potatoes are in the bed getting watered. I have another bale of moldy hay I haven't used yet. I plan on mulching the potatoes with that after they sprout, since potatoes like a deep mulch. I hope that also adds more nutrients for them.
My "purple potato" seedlings are also doing really well. These are from the seeds I got in a trade as a surprise. Some of them are growing really vigorously! I tried planting some last year and they didn't do well at all, so I didn't really count on these doing well either. I now have about 50 seedlings. I'm not sure where I'm going to put them.
Here are all my seedlings, including tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. It's been so warm it's tempting to plant some of them out now, but instead they'll have to stay on their pots, soaking up some sun on the porch.
Out in the garden, the Arugula is bolting. It already started to bolt a little during our last warm spell, then it gold cold and it stopped in its tracks, and now it's picking up where it left off.

A lot of other plants look like they've hardly changed from last month. There just hasn't been enough rain for them to grow much. Here I have kale in the foreground, and garlic in the background. I haven't eaten any of my kale because it got eaten up by bugs so much, and hasn't been growing back new leaves very quickly.

The beet trial doesn't look much different either. I've been thinning them some more, and it looks like a few of them are just starting to form round roots. Some of them where the tops are poking out of the soil look about dime-sized.
I planted a second repeat of the beets in another patch, right around when we had our last rain, and they're just now starting to sprout.

I also planted some fava beans when it last rained, and they're just starting to sprout too.

The Tall Telephone peas are just starting to send out tendrils, and I'm trying a new type of support for them this time. I'm trying out bamboo teepees like I use with pole beans. I'm not sure if it will work with peas, since they climb in a different way than beans, but this variety gets so tall, I need something really tall to support them.

The shallots (left) and celery (right) also don't look like they've made much progress. I've heard that celery needs a lot of water, so they probably haven't been getting enough.

After the peppers got all mushy from freezes, I cut them all down to stumps to see if they might survive the winter and grow back in spring. So far it looks like they all have. They are all still green. If they do all survive, I'll have a lot of extra pepper plants since I've already started more seedlings. I'll have to find some people to adopt them out to.

This weekend is Groundhog Day. Down here in Texas it sure feels like it's already spring, and it's still January. I keep thinking of how lush my garden would be right now, if we would only get some rain to go with these warm temperatures.

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