March 17, 2012 - St. Patrick's Day & Potato Planting

St. Patrick's Day and potato planting have always coincided in my garden, and this year was no different.

It was a cold and windy 49F outside, but it felt like 39F. I made up my mind the potatoes and onions would be planted today, no matter what the weather man gave me to deal with. I donned jeans and heavy socks, a long sleeved shirt, my heaviest sweatshirt, a flannel lined hooded windbreaker and gloves, grabbed my seed potatoes and onions, shovel, rake, 4-tined cultivator, hoe and trowel and headed out to the east garden. OK, I didn't carry them all at once, I made two or three trips. I had already planted a 3' wide row of Dark Red Norland potatoes and a 2' wide row of Walla Walla sweet onions, but I had two more potato beds and one more onion bed to dig, prep and plant. I stayed pretty warm, what with all the layers of clothing and the hard work, and ended up getting the entire east bed planted and all cleaned up. Another 3' wide row of potatoes, Russet Norkotas, was planted, as well as another 2' wide row of Walla Walla sweet onions. Due to a change of plans on where the future garden gate will be, there wasn't enough room to plant all of the Yukon gold potatoes, so two short rows were planted and another row was added to the north, near the kennel garden. More digging and soil preparation. All together, the east garden contains 56 hills of potatoes and 122 Walla Walla sweet onions. I must say, the onion plants were disappointing this year. They were really small, worse than the ones I complained about last year. I may have to change my source for plants next spring.


The entire 11' x 36' (not counting the kennel garden) east garden is finished. There is enough room for a few potted plants next to the chain link fence, so I have plans to eventually put in some cucumbers, dill and a few flowers. The cucumbers can be tied to the fence, and if everything is in pots I should be able to keep the neighbor's invasive Bermuda grass under control so it doesn't get into the potato and onion beds.


I was happy to see a lot of these fat fellas today.

By the time I finished, it was 57F, the wind had settled down to a gentle breeze, and I had worked up a real sweat. Off came the windbreaker, sweatshirt and gloves....I should have just waited about two hours before going out this morning!

23 comments:

  1. Kudos for finishing the east garden and for planting all those spuds and onions! I'm looking to plant more potatoes this year and while my 2010 onion harvest was fabulous and lasted until spring, my 2011 harvest was puny and started sprouting in early January...
    P.S. Yay for fat worms!

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    1. Fiona! It's been a long winter....I need to do some catching up with you! I grew some of the cherry tomatoes from the seeds you sent last year, and fell in love with one variety (I think it was Una Heartstock). Unfortunately, I forgot to save some seeds, and there was no way of telling what was what in the mixed packet. I was cleaning up the dead plants a couple of weeks ago, and found one lone shriveled up tomato on the vine. I knew there was little chance the seeds were viable, but I scraped them out anyway. I planted two of them last week, and guess what...I have two little seedlings! How lucky!

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  2. Wow you got a lot planted today! It's cold and windy here today too and same for tomorrow. I'm grounded from going outside to play this weekend. I'm just getting over a sore throat (viral infection)and doctor told me to behave myself this weekend. I'm feeling much better and wanted to go out and play... but I will work on my taxes instead :-(

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    1. Liisa, it warmed up this afternoon, so I went out and prepped two more beds. Now I AM tired! You'd better get well....there's work to do, girl!

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  3. Wow! Such progress each and every day. I am still waiting for the snow to melt and the soil to dry out before I can do anything with the in ground beds. -Rachel

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    1. Rachel, we've been getting a little rain the last couple of nights, but the wind soon dries it all up. I'm going to have to start watering if this keeps up. At least you are getting some moisture in the soil from all the snow.

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    2. Yes, the snow melt in combination with a little rain last week has the ground quite soggy right now. I try to stay out of the garden so as not to compact the soil. It will dry up soon. Next week is supposed to be beautiful, so spring cleanup and maybe some digging can begin. Seeing your progress has me really eager to do some digging. -Rachel

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  4. very nice! farmer's almanac says it's a good weekend for planting root crops.

    i also saw some worms in my garden today when i planted my carrot tp mats, beets, more spinach, kale, sweet william, poppies, lettuce, and arugula, but i was way too tired to go back out and take pictures. i don't know how you do it, granny!

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    1. Kelli, I need to go out and take pictures of the beds I prepped after I wrote today's blog. The weather turned nice, and I just had to do it ;-)

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  5. Hey there. Long time no check in. You've got 57 and we've got in the 70s. Crazy weather. If that worm is any indication, you ought to have another great garden this year.

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    1. Cheryl, you stinker! You've been gone all winter. I think of you often, especially recently as the lilies are coming up. There is really getting to be a large clump of them, they should be especially beautiful this year.

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  6. I followed up on your schedule and planted my potatoes today as well! Onions will have to wait until tomorrow though as I didn't finish preparing my bed for them.

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  7. Good luck to us, Jenny....the luck o' the Irish!

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  8. It's peas for me. I have know ides where I heard the saying "Plant your pea's by St. Patrick's day", but it's been my goal for over 20 years.

    I'm amazed at how quickly your garden is taking shape. Mine always seems to move at snails pace. Even though I'm actually way ahead, it feel's like I'm very behind...

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    1. Ed, I'm safe either way....since I planted my peas this week, too! Maybe it's potatoes because of the Irish potato famine? Now, don't tell me there was an Irish pea famine too, LOL!

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  9. Will you slow down for crying out loud, you are making all us younger folks look bad! :)

    You are a lean mean gardening machine, and everything is looking good.

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    1. LOL, Kris. I have to keep the old body moving once I get it in high gear!

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  10. Here too, we go by the old adage "potatoes in on St. Patrick's Day", glad you are out there getting to get things going, won't be long and you will be in your summer clothes!

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    1. Brrrr...one nice day at a time, with cold ones outnumbering them. I didn't last an hour today, and that was helping install the garden gate and putting up a temporary barrier for the dogs so I'd have a clear path, with the wheelbarrow, to the new pile of poo. At least they can't bring the cow pies into the house this year :-)

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  11. Thank goodness my potatoes have not arrived yet! Now that you are pretty much caught up. I think you should high-tail it out here and give me a hand!

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    1. My work is just beginning....the pile of cow poo came today. Somebody has to haul it into the garden and dig it in. You know who that somebody is, don't you?

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  12. Hi Granny. I've been lurking on your blog for awhile now....I can't believe how much work you've gotten done so quickly! I prepped one bed yesterday and I was exhausted. I look forward to learning some of your tricks throughout this growing season.

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    1. Hi Liz, I'm glad you came out of lurking mode!

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