Friday, August 7, 2009

Apples Of The Earth – Part II

A little over a month ago, I shared the story about the planting of my potato garden - I mentioned that I was going to try a new (or perhaps very old) way of growing them. I’m trying three different ways, this year, to see if one way will yield a greater crop.

The first way – I simply dug a hole on the leveled garden floor, planted the chunks of potato and then mounded the dirt in the shape of a small volcano – for watering purposes.

The second way – was the same as the first except that the chunks were planted in a raised bed.

The third way – begins the same as the second way. Then I have to wait until the plants have grown a bit before I can put into motion the new technique.

I was grateful to have Joanne help me with this. While she weeded the two patches of potatoes that I was about to experiment on…

…I got busy digging this old half a rain barrel out of the ground. I think that the previous gardener of this garden may have been using these barrels as a composter. I had other plans.

Using my skill saw, I cut the half-barrel in half again.

Then, with Jo’s help – again – the quartered barrels were placed around the potatoes. I filled these to the top with the surrounding garden soil.

Earlier this spring, my neighbour and I were chatting in our gardens and he told me about a way of growing potatoes that he saw on TV or maybe a friend told him. Anyway… there was a guy who had a barrel and he filled it with six inches of dirt and some potato chunks. When the plant had grown seven inches high he added six more inches of dirt. He repeated this process two more times and the barrel was full of dirt. At harvest he kicked the barrel over and it was filled with four layers of potatoes!!!

The problem that I had with this story was with regards to the amount of sun that the potatoes would receive while they were in the first stages of development. Being at the bottom of the barrel would seriously restrict the amount of sun that the plants received.

Because of this thought, I thought that I would first let the plants get as much sun as they could. Then, after they had started to grow, portions of barrel could be placed around the plant and then the extra soil. My mind was busy thinking of ways to create interlocking sections that could be added – one on the other – during the growing season.

This year, I decided to take this experiment to just the second stage – with only one layer of six inches of soil added around the plants – to see how this worked, before continuing. I was partially successful. While Jo’ and I were away for a week, the plants had grown a tremendous amount – over twelve inches (on top of the five inches they had grown before we left). The plant was supposed to be buried in another six inches of soil right after seven inches of growth had occurred. You can see that quite a bit more than one inch of plant towers above the top layer of soil that I’ve added.

This was done about three weeks ago, and so far the plants have not shown any negative responses. I won’t know if this will be a success until some time in September.

You know that I’ll keep you posted!

During all of these ideas and actions my mind instinctively reflexes to ponder – “If we have this kind of knowledge in existence (about how to triple and quadruple our crops in natural and healthy ways)… then – pardon me for asking – why is there world hunger?”


No comments: