We planted four half-barrels of potatoes back in late March, with two buckets being purchased seed potatoes, and two buckets being planted with eyes from some “lost” potatoes that started growing in the pantry on their own.
The plants finally pooped out in the first real summer heat we had a couple of weeks back, and now the harvest is in.
The seed potatoes themselves did “meh,” churning out a couple of lime-sized to dime sized potatoes for each plant. The self-starters grew beautiful plants that actually handled the Carolina heat better than the seed potatoes, but their output was sad, just one golf ball-sized spud each. All totaled, the collective spudtacular filled one colander with potatoes, enough for a couple of meals as a side, but no more. I don’t know if we needed to get the plants in the ground earlier (quite possible), but they were easy enough to grow (set it and forget it) that I’ll be giving them another try when the weather cools back down.
Also this week we had the leftovers of Tropical Storm Andrea rumble through, dumping 5″ or so of rain (according to the measurements at RDU) and throwing some serious straightline winds that flattened a lot of my corn. I’ve braced what I could in the three sisters garden; the rest is going to have to fend for itself.
The three sisters garden is actually doing fairly well, through the pole beans aren’t growing as as much as I’d like. I might have got them planted a little too late, because now the corn is shading them heavily. The assorted squash plants, though, are really starting to take off. and will hopefully seen be thick enough to cut down on the amount of weeding I need to do.
I put up a simple stick-and-netting trellis for my wife’s butternut squash and threaded them through the weave earlier in the week, and the plants seem to love it. What I can’t grasp is why the one hill of butternuts on the right of the photo is doing so well, while the other is unmotivated. I hate slacker squash.
Our buckets of various herbs are doing well. That’s parsley, cilantro, thyme, and basil. We just put Roma tomatoes in the kitty litter buckets behind them. They’re perfectly size for tomato plants, and the ability to move them and the other container plants has simplified yard maintenance.
Our six buckets of sweet potatoes (two plants per container) are doing well, and I planted four more in the “regular” potato buckets after they were harvested.
One thing I’m very happy with is the growth of our four blackberry bushes this year. They produced nothing last year, and I cut them back deeply (down to a single stalk) before the season. They’ve gone a bit nuts, and are producing a lot of new growth and fruit.
The fruit are coming in thick, and I just put up bird netting over the entire corner. The fun part was cutting a hole for the cypress and threading it down, branch by branch. The neighborhood birds are going to have to make do with the mulberry tree in the easement behind our property. In a few weeks, we should have quarts of blackberrys to munch on.
Speaking of weird things growing in the easement, does anyone have an idea of what this fast-growing plant is? You nailed the mulberry without any effort, so I figured I’d test your knowledge again.
It’s very fast growing (a foot a week it seems), and this particular example is over 6′ tall. It is hollow-stemmed, with large, broad leaves, and it has sizable tubers than look sort of like sweet potatoes that growing vertically down into the ground. These tubers, when cut open, smell a little like turnips, and if you cut the plant down, it will start regrowing from the tuber almost immediately.
They are invasive and pervasive, and it is taking a lot of work to knock them down and destroy their tubers. I’d like know what they are, to see if there is a particular way to deal with them.