Digging for Gold

This has been our first year of attempting to grow some of our own food. We have never been gardening folks – we have always lived in a big city in our digital plastic world BUT God is working many new things in us and we have started to become interested in growing vegetables. We love being in the garden alongside our children and we are so fascinated by how things grow – and so are they! It is a wonderful journey –  LOTS of researching, reading, learning and trying new things.

We have had many failures and some great successes – I guess that is to be expected the first year.

One of the great successes has been our potatoes.

We heard about square foot gardening where you utilitze and plant up each square foot of raised bed according to the size of the plant – i.e. 1 brocolli or potato plant, 4 lettuce plants, 9 carrots or 16 radishes in one square foot. Square Foot Gardening in South Africa is a great resource for SFG and raised bed building.

The boyz hard at work! We built two raised beds in different spots for the potatoes.

We planted two raised beds of seed potatoes that we got from Living Seeds.We heard that they yield much better if you grow from certified seed potatoes.

THE BOX – kind of a funny thing to get in the mail!

This bed has nice high walls ready to hold the extra soil from banking up the potatoes as they grow. We filled it to about 3/4 height with soil.

We added lots of comfrey leaves just after planting the potatoes – that really seems to have helped them grow well in good fertile soil.

Its was so exciting to see the first leaves peeping through the soil!

The other bed of potatoes that we planted about a week after the first in a different spot grew very slowly and never gained much height. (The plant in the middle behind the onion is Tansy which is a good companion for potatoes – keeps the bugs away!)

A little growth…

The plants in the first bed started growing well immediately.

They were a rich dark green colour.

The bed was obviously in a great spot and very happy – they just grew and grew… they just kept getting higher!

So we added more soil and compost and “banked them up”.

We nurtured them.

Then the first potato flowers appeared!

The plants grew bigger…

And bigger…

and bigger!!

We had to add corner stakes and shade cloth around the sides to support the extra soil. We should have banked them up more often but we had to find more soil!

The plants kept growing for about four months and then slowly started to die back like potatoes plants are supposed to – but never completely. Eventually we decided to stop watering and after five months decided to start harvesting.

2 weeks ago we started a most exciting treasure hunt! We dug up potatoes from of the bed that didn’t do so well – and then a few out of the big bed. The little ones loved it!

We started in a corner and didn’t dig up much from the big bed yet. There are still LOTS of potatoes to come.

We are leaving some of the gold in the ground for now 🙂

 

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3v19

 

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