Today is a momentous day – its potato day!

Every year I mark in my calendar this day, having specially counted back from the harvest date so I know they will be perfect for harvesting on the right day and today my calendar popped up with a reminder:  plant spuds.

Buried treasure

Buried treasure

You see the thing is – I like to grow Jersey Benne spuds, among the other varieties I grow.  They are the first ones to come ready and are considered gourmet spuds and if I’m going to grow spuds – why not grow gourmet ones.  But there is more to these than just a being a gourmet spud.  They are the new potato of choice for Christmas day and I have seen them go for ridiculous prices in supermarkets in the week leading up to Christmas.  One year I saw half a kilo for 25 dollars!

But with all the excitement of planting out my spuds there is a catch.  A scary catch.  You see Jersey Bennes take 100 days, which means there are 100 days until Christmas!  How did that happen and where did my year go?  I’m not ready for it to be 100 days until Christmas.  I still have loads of things to do.  There are still things from my August list that need attention.  I haven’t even found the time to write a September list yet and I’m just trouble shooting and winging it.  I feel quite lost without a list as for the last couple of months they have given me direction and a sense of achievement and nothing was forgotten, although some things remain incomplete for a lack of time.

It is always so exciting to plant spuds

It is always so exciting to plant spuds

Planting my potatoes, however, wasn’t just as simple as digging a trench and lobbing them in.  I had to clear a patch in order for them to have a home.  So the first part of the day was spent pulling out my wheat.   I have discovered wheat grows well, but I’m not growing it for the grain – but I should, but will need another garden bed for that – a big garden bed!  I grow it as a cover crop / mulch.

Maybe I should grow wheat for the grain?!

Maybe I should grow wheat for the grain?!

When you have a garden as big as mine, effective mulch becomes unaffordable.  So a few years ago I decided to grow my own.  The idea came to me while feeding the chickens and it worked so well I have expanded it to a couple of beds with the plan to roll it out across all beds as they come empty at the end of the season.  Especially after what I found today.  The wheat is quite shallow rooted so pulling it out was a breeze and under it was a rich dark crumbly soil, loaded with worms.

I set the wheat aside to dry in the big shed and then enriched the bed in a way that would please the spuds and then planted them with all the hope in the world that the harvest will be bountiful!   I would normally be enriching my beds to replace the nutrients stolen by weeds, so this system is much better as the nutrients have been taken up by something that will give back as they rot down into the soil while performing their duties as mulch.  Win – win.

My mulch to be

My mulch to be

All in all it was a good day in the garden, there is a harvest of sorts in the shed, there are spuds in the ground, dirt under my nails and my back is a little sore from all the digging.

Come again soon – spring is such a crazy time and without a list who knows what I’ll end up doing.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

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15 Comments on “Today is a momentous day – its potato day!

  1. I grew wheat when I lived in the city–it was a lovely visual curiosity. People in the city are completely divorced from crop plants, they do not know where food comes from. If you can allow a small plot to go all the way to golden, they make lovely additions to dry flower arrangments. Since I can’t eat wheat, it’s only a novelty for me. I never thought of it as dry mulch.

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    • Hi there. I love having wheat in the garden as it makes such a lovely sound when the wind rustles through it and it is so tactile. I can’t help but run my hands through it when I walk past. I will have to look at growing it properly for the grains at least once to make some bread. How cool would that be.
      We so take flour for granted!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful day in the garden. Those spuds will be delicious. And how clever to grow your own mulch. I love reading your blog as you talk today about the size of your garden and I’m gardening on the other end of the scale – 16 square metres. But I love it. Still keeps me plenty busy as I try to find room for everything.

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    • Hi Jean. I know I am really blessed to have the space to have a big garden, but it does have its down sides as I’m forever weeding, but hopefully my grow-your-own mulch will really help out!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • Hi Elaine. That is really funny! We must be ‘poles apart!’ Did the Mudlets spot the lambs in the big garden photo? I thought of them especially.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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      • Urm, I think I must have missed the post with the Big Picture in this time. When did you post it? Mind you with her poorly eye (on the mend now thank goodness) Middle Mudlet hasn’t felt much like looking at anything bless her.

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        • I changed my header photo to be the big picture. Hopefully I’ll remember to change it every month. Poor Middle Mudlet – if it is anything like the discomfort of hayfever eyes then I can understand how she is feeling. I used to get it really bad!
          I’ll try and pop in a big lamb picture for her next time!
          Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. You clever girl…growing your own cover crop mulch? I am stealing that idea for next year! Still waiting for it to stop raining here so we can put up the final 4 poles (concreted in) in the veggie garden and planting spuds and 100 days till Christmas are terrifying ideas. Not that Christmas holds a lot of fear these days and the son-and-heir just got a job locally so we can all get together and have a big family Christmas this year…lubbly jubbly :). Might get you to send a kilo of those Jersey’s our way for the day 😉

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    • Hi Fran. I often try crazy ideas, and this one seems to have worked – not all of them do! And the wheat is allelopathic – which means it stops other plants growing around it, and so the weeds are really kept down. And the soil was so fluffy! So far I have yet to experience a problem with this idea.
      I have had my thought about Christmas and will now pack it away for about 90 days and then in a bit of a flap I shall run around like a loonie trying to inject christmas spirit and baking and buying too much stuff!
      Good news about your boy. You never stop being a mum so it is good to have them where you can see them – to keep your eye on them. Long silences can make you suspicious – Although I doubt he’ll be drawing on the walls with crayon!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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      • Stewart will be too busy at his new job but Kelsey is an artist so those crayons might just make an appearance! We had the most wonderful Christmas last year. We helped out at the local town Christmas party for people who would have otherwise spent Christmas alone and then headed home to a simple special meal with no waste that was just enough to feel special but no leftovers to have to eat for a week (every Christmas past that I have ever known! 😉 ). Who knows what Christmas this year will bring. We are trying to help Kelsey fit into Aussie celebrations and we have never even thought about Thanksgiving before but it’s important to her, so it’s now on the calendar. I might need to start growing sweet potatoes now ;). I LOVE your wheat idea. Would it work for most grains? If so I might try barley. Might have to do a bit of research on grains now to see methinks and the potatoes are sheer genius. My gran used to rave about Jersey Royal potatoes and how precious they were. As a spud adorer, I think I might have to plant out a small pot of them just for me :). I am now off to see if they sell wall paint that repels crayons…

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