Monthly Archives: April 2015

Growing Potatoes In Buckets

I want to grow potatoes, but with my red clay I have to grow in raised beds.  I simply do not have enough bed space to plant potatoes.  I have seen clever and fancy expandable gadget structures to grow potatoes in.  However, with my limited resources, I have had to improvise.

This is an old 5 gallon bucket with holes and cracks in the bottom to allow water to drain.  I made wraps out of old, rusty fence.  The potatoes were planted in the bucket itself, about 2/3 full of good soil.  As the plants produces green stalks, I began to add layers of hay, dirt, old leaves, and more dirt – holding it inside the wire with inside-out cereal boxes to hold it all together and to keep the sun off of the baby potatoes that I hope will grow in the raised area.

To grow potatoes in the ground, you hill up dirt around the plants as the stems grow.  I am doing the same here, holding it in place with cardboard and fence.  In this bucket, I have added about 18″ of soil and leaves along the growing vines.  Supposedly potatoes will grow all along that vine stem. (You can see a bluebonnet on the left/center of the pic.  At first I thought I would just add the leaves and straw, but realized that I had better devise some way to keep the sun off of the baby potatoes.
growing potatoes in a bucket

Here are 3 more of the potato buckets.  All have had about 18″ of soil and leaves added.  They get full sun in the morning and changing sun during the afternoon.  They are growing fast and look like they are getting plenty of sun.
several buckets of growing potatoes

I like new potatoes and am going to have to learn how to dig them out.  We’ll see how this goes.  If it works and if I get a wire cage full of potatoes, I am going to have toget someone to help me build the vision of a potato growing box.

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Some Cabbage Heads, Some Cabbage Bolts

It must be the crazy winters down south.  The temperature variations must throw the cabbage plants off.  This past winter started out with an early frozen blast, then was mild for most of the winter and then ended in another frozen blast.

I get my thrills starting my cabbages and broccoli from seed.  Due to lack of garden space, I planted these in the tomato bed after the toms died out for the summer.  Both of these are early cabbages.  I would like to grow late cabbage, but it takes an additional 60 plus days to grow those large 8 to 10 pound heads.  I’m planning a couple of beds in the back where I will be able to grow my winter garden and will be able to fence the beds in and pull chicken wire over the top to keep the critters and deer out.

This pic shows heading cabbage next to cabbage that is forming its seed head, called bolting.  The empty spaces once held broccoli that has already been fully harvested.

cabbage going to seed and some heading

Here is a closeup.  From the leaves, these 2 plant look to both be Copenhagen Market cabbages.  They were started at the same time, from the same seed pack and planted the same day, however one forms a head and one bolts.  Why?
close up of cabbage bolting

Closeup of a decent head forming.  This is probably Copenhagen Market, but could be Glory of Enkhuizen.  Both are early cabbage, which means that the heads are smaller (maybe about 3 pound heads) because they are an early cabbage.
cabbage heading

A nice head of broccoli.  After I picked this head, side shoots formed.
broccoli closeup

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Pine Seedlings EVERYWHERE!

It is really an amazing thing, pine seedlings are everywhere in the spring.  These are some small seedlings that I dug up because they were in the way in a garden bed.  This pic is a few weeks old – they all made it and are several inches taller now.  I can’t help myself, when I turn over the garden beds, I can’t help but dig up nice looking seedlings and replant them in pots and grow them in the greenhouse until this fall or next spring and plant them all over the place.  I currently have a few hundred pine seedlings in the greenhouse.  They have all put on a few inches of nice new, light green growth.
potting baby pines

The smaller pine seedlings growing on this red clay bank are a year old.  The taller tree out front is only 2 1/2 years old.  The little sprouts can grow quickly, even in red clay.
reforestation marches on

I drew a red line next to some pine tree seedlings that had just begun to sprout.  Can hardly take a step in the woods with out stepping on sprouts.
pine seedlings every step

The next foot step – more sprouts.  It is amazing.  They are trying to wiggle out of their seed.  The seed is still attached at the top of these sprouts.
the next step is filled with pine seedlings

Pine seeds rain down from the pines from about September to February.  Out of a thousand seeds, maybe one might grow to a tree – maybe one.  The sprouts will have to be strong with deep roots to survive the hot dry summer that is coming.

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