Friday, July 16, 2010
Ha, fruitless potato beetle fornication; they're dead
Today I finally 'hilled-up' the fingerling potatoes planted in late May. Potatoes grow new tubers off of lateral shoots coming off of the stem growing from the seed potato, and burying the lower portions of the green foliage is a requisite for a good potato harvest. Or so I've read. It provides more stem/branch intersections from which to grow new potatoes sheltered from the bitter alkaloid forming effects of sunlight.
Dark mounds of top-soil prior to tilling and hilling
I planted these potatoes late, and I'm probably hilling them up a little late too. Spending more time with the spuds, I also noticed and killed a half-dozen potato beetles. They make a loud crunch between two rocks and lay these day-glow orange eggs on the bottom of leaves. They squish rather than crunch.
Cultivating between rows of buried 'taters
I planted these potatoes in rows that were a little too raised above the surrounding soil. I've had to add a cheap sandy top-soil mix, tilled with the native clay soil, to the inter spaces between the rows in order to have enough soil to pull up and over the lower portion of the growing stems. The new tiller with a 17" wide tiller box fits perfectly between the rows and makes easy work of the compacted clay.