Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hawks and Eagles, Planting potatoes in the Puget Sound, Lovage, Don't let your garden fail.

Eagles and Hawks! OH MY!  Or...Fun times on the edge of civilisation!
I told you all about the hawk attack on the girls a couple of weeks ago.  The attackee is doing fine .  The hawk made another appearance and scared the bejeebers out of the girls.  I thought it prudent to pen them up and only allow them the full 1 acre when I am  able to keep an eye on them. So, last Friday I penned them up (much complaining  and squawking followed) .  I kissed Jimmy on the forehead, told him to stay out of trouble and went to class. When I leave for my once a week acting class Jimmy always says " I love you! I will miss you! Drive carefully!"  It didn't take me long to figure out that  this was code for 'Woot! She's leaving! I get the house to myself!"  I now know that when I walk out the door, leaving a smiling, waving Jimmy behind me.... the second he can no longer see the tail lights on my car... he does a little dance, jiggles out of his clothes, rifles through the kitchen for brownies/whatever junk food is available, pops not one, but two bottles of beer , cranks up the stereo and if its cold and rainy gets on xbox live  with his friends and says totally inappropriate things while he guns them all down or , if the weather is nice, wanders out into the yard to do a self satisfied survey of his domain.  If its really nice he wanders  a block behind the house into the park.  Last Friday was really nice.  He wandered into the park and  discovered that two juvenile bald eagles have taken up residence in the top of one of the cedar trees.  Which means that my girls can never leave the pen again.  The eagles don't see charming pastoral fowl who work for a living and bring joy to  people around them.  They see chicken yummy nuggets!

 I planted my potato bed  last week.  I read a wonderful article by a well known Seattle gardener that said ignore everything you have heard about growing potatoes.  In  Puget Sound  you have to do it different.  Conventional wisdom says potatoes do not do well in raised boxes.    In our neck of the woods, raised boxes is the way to go.  It gives  the plants the drainage they need to grow up healthy and strong.  We have really long days here but a short season.  Planting potatoes in a partly shady area is best, they will grow a little slower but will produce more fruit.  Also we have two growing seasons  here .  The first planting is in March which will produce  mature potatoes by the beginning of July.  Planting again in July will produce potatoes by October.  The double planting season is  due to our  milder climate.  I know the part about the raised beds is accurate.  I have had great success in the past with  potatoes in boxes even though many folk said it wouldn't work.  I also know that the partly shady advice is correct.  In the old place, following conventional potato wisdom got me a grand total of a  two dozen potatoes for the season.  I cant wait to get my carrots in the ground.   Buying produce sucks! Commercial produce may store longer but  taste is  bland and the stuff is expensive.  I cringe every time I have to pay  close to $3 for a head of lettuce. Last years garden fail taught me a fine lesson "Don't let your garden fail!".  Yes, we were tired injured and overwhelmed with the move but we paid dearly with low quality food and  a grocery budget that was over the top.  Not to mention having to go to the grocery store three or four times a week.    I missed not being able to walk outside my back door ,dig up a couple of potatoes and some carrots , pick a few snow peas , snip off a little fresh tarragon,  thyme, oregano, parsley or rosemary,  pop back into the kitchen and have dinner ready in twenty minutes.  I picked up a lovage plant  when I was out and about last week.  I have to figure out where to put it.  I don't use it very often but I when I want it.... I want it.  Lovage grows like rhubarb, plant it once and in a few years you will have a lovage  'bush". So I need to find a 'wasted' ,out of the way.  space for it because its going to live there a loooong time.  I also need to find a permanent space for the garlic bed. 
Yep! Almost there!

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