(Yukon Gold potatoes and a wiffle ball)
As you may recall, I did a version of the No-Dig Method of Potato Planting again this year with a small change. I dug in the seed potatoes just about 3" under the soil and then covered them heavily with straw mulch. When the potato plants came up and shot up a foot or so, I added another thick layer of straw. I only watered my potato patch 3 times this summer, and it was wet enough to grow potatoes along with some slugs (ew!). I only needed one of these large potatoes to make a small pot of Zuppa for Hubs and me. And oh, did it taste good. The Yukon Golds have such a thin skin that there is really no need to peel them for the soup. I've only dug up a few more spuds so far to share with my dad who is always so generous with me sharing his abundance of garden produce.
Dad and I were talking about our gardens, the ups and downs of each of them. He has fabulous tomatoes, beef steaks, that are bigger than the palm of his hand, while mine are pathetic and few. He has gobs of apples, and I have two. He has peppers galore, and I have a few small ones. My garden, however, has wonderful carrots and potatoes, pumpkins and squash, cucumbers and lettuces. Dad started telling me about his father's garden in eastern South Dakota. I was just a girl, and I remember walking through rows of tall, tall corn, and getting lost in the rows. Grandpa's garden was huge! His garden grew long rows of sweet corn, taller than Grandpa's head, and there were rows of spuds and tomatoes and carrots and beans and all manner of garden vegetables. Dad told me that Grandpa never watered his garden, that there was always just enough rain to keep the garden growing through the summer. That amazes me because I could not grow a thing here if I didn't have water. I cannot ever count on there being summer rains to keep a garden moist enough to grow and produce anything. After growing row gardens in the past and now raised bed gardens, I do think that row gardens retain moisture better than the raised beds. Do you think so? Mulch sure helps too, but I don't remember there being any mulch on Grandpa's garden.
I took old Tom Jefferson's advice this summer and planted a teaspoon of lettuce seed every other week or so and I have lovely greens at various stages of maturity. I haven't bought a head of lettuce all summer, and we eat a LOT of lettuce here. Salads daily. It's going to be hard to go back to grocery store lettuce when summer's over.
Are you hearing murmurings of an early fall and a hard winter coming up? I have, but I'm ignoring it all. I love summer so much that I refuse to listen to it, but instead I will live in the day and live summer to the hilt until it has passed into fall. Most people think summer is over when school begins, but I disagree. Summer is summer until it is gone (Sept. 22nd) and even then we might get a nice little extension of Indian Summer. I'm hopeful. I want more gardening, more homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers, more barefoot days, more sunshine on my skin, more flowers blooming and green grass growing, and more warm rains falling on pastures. I want more days with short-sleeved shirts and shorts, more sandal days, more days pushing the grands in the swings, and more birdsong and duckquacks. A pair of Sandhill Cranes are roosting in the big cottonwoods near our house at night. I see them fly up from the trees when I walk by in the evening. I want more of that too. Do you think I want too much? Enjoy summer. I am will be!