Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

March 19, 2009

Peas (by request) and Taters

Alright alright... I know your probably tired of me talking about the potato patch for this week, but I thought I'd give you all an update since I did the planting in the rows tonight.

The first thing that I did was to mix up a batch of complete fertilizer using bone meal, blood meal and potash and turned it into the top few inches of the top of each row. I've planted a total of 59 potato plants, approximately 15 inches apart in the row and 18 - 20 inches between rows. I laid them out first to make sure that I was comfortable with the spacing and I think that this will serve us well. That's what's going on in the picture to the left.

I decided on four varieties this year so I can take notes and see how they really perform here. The earliest is a 65 day Norland red potato. I hope to be able to pull some baby red's from it around the middle of pea season. Mmmm. I also planted a few rows of Yukon Golds (80 day), a great all around tater. We can make fries with it or add it to a batch of mashed potatoes or put it in stews. The two longer season varieties that I chose are Russet Norkotah and Red Pontiac. Both are around 100 - 110 day potatoes. This is the first year that we're really making an effort toward 'taters. All we can do is pray for the best.

Now, as for the peas. I had a couple of questions about my self declared highly intense planting of them. It's not a very scientific experiment, but what I did was to use two of my 4x6 raised beds to plant shelling peas in. (These are not the sugar snap variety. They are the canning type where you need to get very large harvests at one time.) I turned into the soil some good organic fertilizer and then proceeded to plant the seeds in approximately 3 inch spaced rows where the seeds were approximately 2 inches apart in the rows throughout the whole garden bed.

4 feet wide bed = 12 rows.
6 feet long bed = approx 24-27 per row.
I averaged 25 seeds per row X 12 Rows = 300 peas per bed.
Two beds were planted and voila...600 pea plants.

Now, is this the recommended plant spacing for them? No. So why do it? I did it because the typical planting schemes are based around agricultural roots. I don't use regular rows, I have the ability to micro-manage the plants and I have very healthy soil with a regular rotation being used. My hope is that those factors will overshadow the not following the normal procedure. The beds I used have the sky-scraper looking trellis system that I came up with and I'll just run some twine around the frame and across the centers as the vines grow in order to help support them. They do tend to be pretty self supporting though in my opinion.

I'm a big advocate of trying to find solutions to problems in the garden. The problem I'm trying to solve here is that in order to put up a significant enough portion of peas, we need to grow a very large quantity of them. I don't have the space for traditional rows, so I'm "winging it". Were I to have planted the same number of plants in rows I would have needed something like 7 and a half 20 ft long rows to do that. We'll see how this does. Perhaps peas just won't make the cut next year.

I'm gonna check out for a couple of days for the most part until next Monday. I may pop in with a quick update or something, but nothing huge until then. I need to finish a writing job that I have in the works and then of course there's the upcoming class I'll be giving this weekend. (If they ever get back to me with the address that is.) All that's not counting yet another project work up that's been on the honey-do list for a couple of years now. Ahhh spring... time to run around like a mad man trying to get all the projects done before out glorious summer heat begins trying to kill us.

Have a great weekend all!


Little Terraced House said...

Hiya Paul, I like the sound of your pea planting as I am trying out a similar scheme back here in the UK, only main difference is that I am staggering some of the planting times as I wanted a succession of peas. Will update you with the quantities that I am putting in once I have calculated seed numbers, planting distances ect - it would be interesting to compare notes.

All my veggie gardening is done on deep beds and I do tend to crowd far more in than the supposed recommended spacings tell you too.

Have a great weekend and best wishes for the class - I am envious !!


Kory said...

Yukon Golds were a low producer for me, I hope you have better luck. Caribe on the other hand was great. This year I am trying purple viking. I was nervous about the potatoes my first year. I think it comes from the fact that the plant does most of the work were we cant check on it daily.

As for the peas, this may not be an option for you, but I freeze mine. the taste is better than canned, And you can do smaller batches, but again, freezing may not be an option.

Irma said...

Thank you so much for the details on the Pea Project. Like you, my goal for my peas is freezing, not fresh eating. I may not work up the nerve to go quite as closely spaced as you did, but I will definitely be planting more peas than I had first planned. Thanks again.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

I crowd my peas too and they seem to yield pretty good (38# per 100')but it sure takes a lot to get enough for the freezer. But they sure are good!

I'm guessing you will have a good harvest.