22 May 2010

Nice afternoon in the sun

That was what we had yesterday. We were out in the sun with the dog for a few hours. She loved it, as you can see from the pictures.

Rolling in the grass...

...and asking to play with the tennis ball.

The peonies and other flowers are finally blooming. Everything is three weeks to a month late this spring, because the cold weather lasted so long. It's finally over.

Peonies in the garden

We did work outdoors yesterday morning. Walt cleaned out the garden shed, while I weeded and watered the potato patch again.

Potatoes from England — King Edwards and Rockets

I wonder how you know when the potatoes are ready to be dug — harvested? Is it when the plants get flowers on them? I guess I'd better read about it.


  1. I have grown potatoes/gardened forever. Potatoes will grow about 2.5-3 ft tall and flower. After they flower they will appear to die over about 3-4 weeks. Get all brown on top of the dirt. For all practical purposes you can start digging them after that. For a couple of weeks you can just steal what you want. No need to dig them all at once. But then you do need to get them all out before ants, etc want to feast on them. Keep them hilled why they grow and watch for potato beetles. Good luck. Nothing better than fresh potatoes.

    Jeff in Naperville

  2. Thanks Jeff, for the good advice. Maybe you know that I lived in Illinois for a few years, down in Champaign-Urbana. I had friends who lived in Aurora, Downers Grove, etc., close to Naperville.

    I read in a French gardening book that precocious potatoes should be ready in 60 to 90 days, and others by about 120 to 140 days. I planted mine on April 10, I think, so I'll see around July 1 where I stand.

  3. i made ur savory cake yesterday right after reading ur post....i used smithfield ham, green onions, parmesan cheese and i even tossed in some leftover fresh blueberries....it was fantabulous!! this will become a staple for my summer porch gatherings i'm sure....we r still wet & gloomy here in western NC....supposed to get sunnier & warmer as the week progresses...hope yall r having a nice sunny weekend

  4. Hi Melinda, yes, we are having a beautiful, sunny, warm, breezy weekend. Your cake sounds really good. I'll try that kind of combination next. Ken

  5. Beautiful peonies - my favorite flower.

  6. I've noticed the climate people are getting off the "global warming" wagon and back to the "ice age" wagon, we could be in for some nasty winters ahead.

  7. Ken,
    Rocket are first earlies [english term for precocious/precoce!] and often don't flower. At our allotment a lot of the older guys [in their 80's] say we've got blight... not the case... what they are seeing is the slow die-back that Jeff mentioned. Your book is correct on the days... Rocket is well named... nearer the 60 day mark! If you want some small, early new potatoes from Rocket you can start 'froddling' near their roots around the third week in June.
    Jeff also says keep you spuds 'hilled'... in the UK we call that 'earthed-up'... The picture you took doesn't show that... are you pulling the soil up around them [or adding more from a bag of terreau / compost from the heap works as well]? You should keep doing that for the first 20 to 30 cms of the stems [once they appear above ground] then stop and just keep watering.
    The King Eds are a late main and should be left in until the haulms [the green growth] dies back.
    In case of 'blight' weather [warm, moist/humid days] watch the late main very closely for signs of black spots appearing on the leaves... and get Susan over to verify! If she says 'yes'... chop the growth above ground off and burn it. Then harvest the potatoes and wash them.... leave to dry somewhere dark before bagging up and check regularly for signs of rot.
    Bon chance!

  8. I forgot to explain 'froddling'....
    digging in the earth as described... with your bare hands.
    You feel a suitable size tuber and pick it.... not more than three per plant. Water well afterwards to reettle the soil round the roots and water twice a day for the next two days to give the plant time to recover. A bit of effort but well worth it.

  9. Thanks, Tim. You Brits have a different word for everything. Chitting, froddling, earthing up, haulms, "first earlies" — LOL! My taters are hilled up about 8 inches, I think, even if it doesn't show in the photo. I'll have to go take a different photo. I think I planted them pretty deep in the first place. The Rockets have been in the ground for 45 days or more, so toward the middle or end of June I should be able to dig some -- froddle them, I mean! Oops, is that a verb, or just a noun form?

  10. Yes Ken... everything is different. In Norfolk it is even worse, there they 'do different' as well!
    Oh... 'reetle seemed to have lost '-S'... it should read "Water well afterwards to re-settle the soil round the roots"
    Then dig as normal once the tops die back.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?