Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How is it possible that it is fall already?

I'm sorry you guys! I can't believe that it has been so long since I last posted anything. Especially because I have so much to tell! Like how we are renovating our office using all re-purposed and second hand materials, and how I found the perfect way to use up cherry tomatoes (roasted in the oven with garlic and turned into soup), and how I've had the dehydrator in over-drive (plums, pears, apples, peaches, tomatoes, bananas, grape fruit roll ups), and how the discovery of the recipe of plum amaretto jam lead to the most delicious jam I have ever made, and how we took the train to PEI this summer and discovered the most fantastic farms and a composting program that made me even more excited about the soon to be implemented Green Bin Program here in ottawa, and that's not even all!

But perhaps I'll talk about something else...potatoes.

We harvested our potatoes over the weekend and did ok but got no where near the yield we originally thought we might.
Since we have a small urban garden, we decided to try the 'tower' method this year. This method promised up to 100lbs of potatoes per tower. In a fit of potato madness, we planted 4 towers. We figured we'd worry about what we'd actually do with 400lbs of potatoes later.

Good thing.

Our total yield= 15lbs.

Couple of things we did wrong:
1. didn't put anything under the towers to prevent roots growing up into the towers from other plants. We had two towers that were totally choked out with roots. The tower that did the best was right on the patio stones so had nothing else growing into it.
2. Two towers did not get enough sun. It's not worth putting up towers unless they are in a spot that gets a decent amount of sun
3. Protect them from squirrels. We have a major squirrel problem and their digging broke the growing tips off a number of the plants in two of the towers. Fewer plants = fewer potatoes.

But even if we'd adjusted for all of those things, I don't think we would have come anywhere near 100lbs per tower. The potatoes just didn't grow up the plant. If we set up the towers next year we'll only make them three levels tall instead of 6 (will make sense if you see the diagram on the lifehacker site). Although I have been reading that you need the right type of potato to grow vertically. Perhaps I just had the wrong one?

In any case, we have a decent crop of potatoes that have now finished drying and are ready for storage. We are going to try storing them in the basement in a container filled with dry dirt. Not that we really need to worry about it. I don't think it will take us long to get through 15lbs of potatoes.

Mmmmmm, potatoes. :)


wendyytb said...

Hi there! I am glad to see that you haven't stopped blogging. I found my way here from Amber's site and have enjoyed your posts.

We planted potatoes last year and got no where near what they had promised.

I have a question... Are you still managing without a refrigerator?

I really enjoy both your blog and Unstuffed... so much so that I almost wish I lived in Ottawa! There seems to be some really interesting folks that live there!!

Irma said...

I didn't even bother weighing my potatoes when I harvested them, I was THAT discouraged. (I'd say it was probably less than a kilo total, from four plants!) I haven't tried the tower method, but I will look into it for next year.

Scout said...

Welcome back :)

I thought about building potato towers this year using recycled car tires, but didn't get around to it :(
I'm still interested in giving it a try next year, but will try to avoid the same pitfalls (I'm sure I can come up with my own brand new things to do less-than-perfectly ;-)

Maybe this was just a bad potato year?

Green Grrl said...

Hi Wendyytb! Yep we are still fridge free. Almost 2 years now. :-)

Hi Irma! Sorry to hear your potatoes did badly too. Maybe Scout is right!

Hey Scout! Could be it was a bad year, although it couldn't have been lack of water we were inundated here in Ottawa - maybe lack of sunshine?

TechChik said...

Both my potatoes and peppers did badly this year too. I visited Upper Canada Village a few weeks ago, and they confirmed - it's been a lousy year for the solanaceae family.

I love the roast tomato/garlic soup idea - I have a bunch of grape tomatoes that I've been trying to find a use for. Thx!

Green Grrl said...

Thanks TechChik! That makes me feel better. :)

Hope you like the soup - I love it because as well as using up the tomatoes, it is so easy to make. It doesn't even need stock (only water) because the tomatoes and garlic have so much flavour. Enjoy!