Potatoes do it in tires

Time for a garden update.

Actually, that’s not true. It’s time to apply nose to grindstone, shoulder to wheel, butt to chair, fingers to keyboard and brain to my current editing project. But the heck with it … this morning I gardened until my leg was burning, came inside and iced until the sciatica was numb, and now I am just going to give time to a quick li’l update. THEN I will contort myself as described above and do something constructive about meeting the next deadline.

So, the garden update. I had help…

This is Lola, who likes to keep an eye on whatever I happen to be doing around the place. She’s good company when she remembers not to lie on the newly dug-and-planted ground.
Destra checks in periodically, but today was more interested in swimming in the horse trough.















Potatoes are planted! I got 10 seed potatoes from Territorial – I chose Rio Grande organic – and they’ve been impersonating baby triffids on my desk for the past couple weeks. I hope they like being snug underground at last! I picked this spot because it’s one of the many places where I started a compost heap (a few years back) that Himself flattened when playing with his tractor, so the soil is nice and rich. This wasn’t where I originally planned to put them, but when I was outside actually putting them into the ground it made sense.

Behind the potatoes, against the chicken run fence, are the raspberry starts. I put them in the ground (dry root plants, also from Territorial) a few weeks ago and so far am seeing no sign of life, despite copious watering. Hope they’re okay! There were five, now there are four … thank you Lola for not lying on more than one…:(

05-07 Potatoes
Each tire surrounds a single Rio Grande organic potato. The theory, which shall be tested this year, is that as the potato plants emerge, you keep covering them up with soil, adding more layers of tires as the soil rises. When you want delicious baby potatoes, dig ’em out. Otherwise just leave them in the rising ground; they should be fine through winter.

All six raised beds have been planted. Three of them are in seeds – Walla Walla sweet onions, mignon carrots, Lutz green leaf beets, cherry belle radish, Thompson broccoli and Crockett bush beans, as well as borage here and there to … ummm … attract beneficial insects, I think. Something good, anyway. The radishes are coming up gangbusters and need to be thinned, and I’m starting to see wisps of onion too, and maybe some beets and broccoli… but there are vast expanses of just DIRT the temptation to dig it up and see if anything is actually happening down there at supposed-to-be root level is about killing me! We also planted a few strawberries (I’m pretty sure the old ones I found when I cleared out these beds have expired), various tomatoes and jalapeno peppers.

In the background against the Nasty Neighbor’s boundary fence is a long bed with more tomatoes and peppers. In fall we’ll be filling it up with asparagus, but we decided not to move the asparagus from its current raised bed just yet. That was a good decision; we’ve been eating home-grown asparagus at least once a week. Yum!

Fanny’s plum tree is infested with aphids and isn’t doing too well. Himself has been spraying, which caused me to want to have a hissy fit, but then I decided to zip my lip instead. It’s about warm enough to plant nasturtiums, which are supposedly great at attracting aphids away from other plants. Pretty soon I’ll clear space around the tree and put some nasturtium seed in, along with aliums to help chase the aphids away. And after that’s done, THEN any spraying will result in an entirely deserved hissy fit.

05-07 Raised beds 2 05-07 Raised beds 1

The grape arbor is full of weeds, but the two grape vines are doing well and look like they’ll bear fruit. Yeah! I’ll deal with the weeds in due course, but for now it’s enough just to keep them back from the grapes. Projects for this year:

  • Finish building the arbor (it needs poles across the top to support the vines in a year or two – and also to hold a hammock or swing)
  • Plant two more grapes (need to wait and see what kind we’ve already planted, as neither Himself nor I can remember whether they’re red or green)

05-07 Grape arbor

The compost heap looks a little flat. That’s the chickens, though – they do love to kick it around, and that’s probably as good a way as any to keep it stirred up. I added a barrow-load of weeds today, and Himself can do penance for previous devastation of a compostly nature by dumping a couple barrow loads of horse  pooh and raking it all together in a nice pile. How better to warm the cockles of the wifely heart?

05-07 Compost heap


It’s frustrating to be in May already and have so little done … but adding it all up like this is at least a little encouraging. And meanwhile the fruit trees are flourishing like mad. We’ll have apricots, nectarines and pears galore, and maybe a fair crop of plums. Well, I’ll just keep picking away, digging and planting as best I can between days of dust-laden wind and the ubiquitous deadlines.

Which I should focus on right now.

Except … I have to take Lola to the vet for a checkup. Ha ha! Another great excuse to procrastinate! Gotta love that adrenalin charge when it hits!

Author: Belladonna Took

Well into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, perpetually at risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic.

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