02 June 2013

2013's experiments

This year I'm growing two crops that are completely new to me. The first is sweet potatoes, which I hadn't realised could be successfully planted here. Sweet potatoes need hot summers and are good at withstanding drought, which should mean they're going to do well if this summer is anything like last year's. They aren't keen on alkaline soils, which might have put me off if I hadn't heard from a friend that his did really well in our lime-rich area last year.

I ordered two different varieties from Mapple Farm in New Brunswick: Ginseng Red (brown skin, orange flesh) and Travis (white skin, white flesh). To test out the best growing conditions for them, I've planted half in the upper vegetable garden, where it's a bit drier, and half in the lower garden. Those ones are in a trench of worm compost made from kitchen waste, which is more acidic than the regular soil.

We're surrounded here by vineyards as the County continues to establish itself as Canada's Burgundy. But up to now, the only grapes growing on our property were wild ones and this year I decided that this situation should not be allowed to continue. I bought a table grape (Sovereign Coronation). Mike helped me dig a hole for it next to the fence on the eastern side of the upper vegetable garden.

And three days later he ran it over with the lawnmower.

And I was left with this sorry looking stump.

I know that grapes can handle fairly severe pruning. But this looked a bit terminal to me.

Yesterday I noticed signs of life - distinct buds forming on the remains of the plant. Perhaps we will get some grapes this year after all. Maybe I should put a tomato cage around it, just to avoid future tractor-related tragedies.


Emily said...

Sweet potatoes are an experiment for me this year too. I planted them once before when I first moved to this garden in NH, but they were overshadowed by tomatillo plants. (poor planning on my part). I'm trying the method from Mother Earth Magazine of creating a clear plastic bed to warm the soil even more. I'm hoping we get some good sweet potatoes as we love eating them.

Lisa from Iroquois said...

On the subject of a tomato cage to protect the vine stump - I'd also suggest tying a ribbon to the top rung of the cage... something colorful to flutter and move and remind the eye that there is something at that location. Cages too often disappear in the background.