Archives for posts with tag: Potatoes

The first full day of frost today has meant back to digging.

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I had to finish digging up the few potatoes and the quite a few carrots that were left in the ground, then turn over the soil as much as possible.

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Farmer Eriksson came by on his way to the forest. He said he is making a tractor road to a part of the forest that has been neglected because of poor accessibility. He also said that he saw that there has been more rain in october and november than last year which was an unusually rainy year. The difference is that last year it rained all summer and fall, and this year it was a dry summer and rainy fall. So far less, but still muddy. That’s why I’ve been waiting for the frost.

I dug all day, but the days are not long, getting dark at 1600. Long enough to give me a good workout and a sore hind leg.

The early potatoes have been ready for harvest for over a month, and we have been digging them up fresh when needed. Now it is time for a more concerted effort while the dirt is fairly dry. I dug up a couple of rows today starting with a potato called Timo.

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Timo is a finnish sort. It is good in many ways, but not superb by any means. I like it mostly because it has a nice name.

We also have a french type called Cherie.

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They are also very good potatoes, and I like the color.

Then we have a third sort called King Edward.

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It is a much later variety and is still growing like crazy.

Last year we were standing in mud for most of the potato harvest, and it got muddier the longer we waited. It is so nice this year to dig potatoes, carrots and other roots in this beautiful summer/fall weather we are having so far.

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So I got busy and started digging up the carrots for storing. This is a winter type called London Torg. I also tried to dig some potatoes, but gave up pretty quickly because it was too muddy. Parsnips go into storage too. I like them thin and small, but these are a bit on the scrawny side so I left the rest in the ground to fatten up a bit more.

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We have use of a big rootcellar just a short walk up the hill from the garden. It has good drainage, perfect temperature above freezing, and just right humidity for storing roots. We can keep them here until the following summer. Other vegs like onions, cabbages and pumpkins must be stored elsewhere because it is too humid here.

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The inside is dark, damp and cold like a cellar in a mexican dracula movie. It is cut out of a hillside with an arched stone ceiling and a cement floor. Mice and an occasional rat can get in and nibble at the roots a bit, but we are glad to share with them.

Yesterday we had a group of students from the Center for Sustainable Development at the University of Uppsala come out to our garden for a work day. This is the third year now and an event we look forward to. We get alot of work done along with good dicussions on ecological gardening and sustainability.

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Harvesting potatoes

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Job rotation – a new crew digging potatoes.

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Working with the compost piles

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More manure on this years pile

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Turning last years pile to airate it.

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Digging the well pond

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The dirt goes on a mound that will be grass covered when the well is finished.

At the end of the day we had a dinner and discussion by the fire in the tipi – pumpkin soup, bread, hummus and pickles, mostly all made with garden or local ingredients including pumpkins harvested from the compost pile earlier.

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There are potatoes in there.

This summer, due to all the rain and cool weather, our potatoes got blight – a fungus that makes the leaves turn brown, curl up and rot. I had to pull all the leaves and stems out and discard them. I then earthed up or ridged more dirt along the rows to keep them buried until harvest time.

They say you should burn the blight, but I put the stems on the compost believing in the power of composting to tranform bad to good (biological transmutation). I also read it was OK.

Hopefully very little blight got down to the tubers. So far, all the ones I’ve dug up are looking good. I always buy resistant sorts now after once loosing a years supply because I used my own potatoes too many years as sets.

As soon as the garden dries out a bit I’ll have to get busy harvesting.

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I have taken several days vacation in the far northern part of Sweden – north of the polar circle. The people who settled there have developed a gardening culture suitable to the cool weather, short growing season and midnight sun.

Through the ages they have grown barley, rutabagas, carrots, cabbages and many other hardy vegetables in the rich loamy soil found in most areas.

In the picture you see almond potatoes growing. These potatoes are a rare delicacy. They are rather small and have a yellow meat, almond shape, and a delicious unique flavor.

They are desease resistant and hold well under proper conditions all winter until the next harvest comes. Altho there are a number of similar potatoes around the world, none have the same qualities. And this particular variety does not grow well further south. They seem to be totally adapted to this harsh climate.