Potatoes and Peas

Back in April, when the first breath of spring was in the air, my son and I went out to the garden plot, shovel in hand.  We applied manure, peat moss and other natural fertilizers and turned over the soil We then chopped up a number of spuds (with eyes) and stuck them deep in the soil (six inches under).  We also planted two rows of peas (snap peas and sugar peas). And then we sat back and waited, and waited.  The nights were still cold, and some of the days were cold.

The first to pop up were the peas.  Being planted only an inch underground, they had less distance to travel.  They stuck out their green necks into the cold spring air.  Slowly, they mounted to the sky, sending out runners to connect with neighboring plants and up to the trellis beside them. Some went off along the ground in the wrong direction and had to be reigned in.  Now, six weeks later they are a foot high mass of green leaves, runners and stalks.  We can see the first nascent flowers.

The potatoes (Yukon gold and Fingerlings) took longer.  After a five weeks of no-show, I was concerned the entire patch of potatoes had rotted in the ground with nothing to show.  There is a change that rot sets in before the plant can grow.  And so, it is with anticipation that we caught the first grows above the ground.  By then, the weeds had invaded, including some Hosta roots that had been left in the soil and were now springing up where the potatoe patch should have been.  My son and I pruned the weeds, carefully distinguishing friend from foe.  I am glad to report that the potatoes quickly made up for lost time.  In fact they are now a sea of green covering the entire patch of soil, and nearly a foot talk.  The few extra spuds that I dumped in a shaded area of the front yard have also materialized.

The peas should be ready to harvest in another four to six weeks and keep sprouting throughout the summer.  By contrast, the potatoes will sit in the ground all summer and into the fall, storing up solar energy from the leaves in the roots and tubers that we find so tasty.  I let you know when they are ready to eat.

For now … Happy Planting.

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