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sweet potato

I cooked my  first sweet potatoes this week, made sweet potato fries.

sweet potatoes ready to fry

sweet potatoes ready to fry

I fry them in coconut oil.  It’s supposed to be a better oil for high heat frying.  When done and the oil is cool enough I pour it through a paper towel in a funnel into a clean glass jar for storage.  This jar is just left on the counter till the next time.  I’ve been doing this for over a year with no problems.

Lets do a little egg production history.  I brought home 6 one day old chicks April 4th, 2012, 5 hens and 1 rooster (Jack was a surprise).  I still have all of them, the gods have been looking out for them.  On August 4th, 2012,  I got my first egg.  shortly after that all of the ladies were laying eggs daily.  About 7 months later the ladies had laid over 1000 eggs on March 14th 2013.  Well we have gone another 7 months and the ladies laid their 2000th egg, on October 22nd, 2013.  I keep track with my egg production sheets.  https://mygardenmychickens.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/egg-production-sheet-take-two/.

Ed

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I grow sweet potatoes in containers that I hang off of my deck.  I like the foliage all summer and the small purple flowers.  I grow my own slips. Here is a link to an earlier post with the starting of the sweet potato plants,  https://mygardenmychickens.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/cold-frame-potting-shed-and-bunny-rabbit/.

I have 1 large round container and 4 rectangular containers (kitty litter buckets).  To harvest I just dump them out into my wheelbarrow and pull off the potatoes.

large round container on side of deck

large round container on side of deck

4 kitty litter buckets with sweet potato plants

4 kitty litter buckets with sweet potato plants

sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes

sorry, it's a little fuzzy. sweet potato harvest 2013

sorry, it’s a little fuzzy. sweet potato harvest 2013

Not a bad harvest, some large ones and a lot more small ones.  I have them spread out  on cardboard  by the wood stove to cure before I store them in the cellar.

In my last post I wrote about pulling up my tomato plants.  I want to add, that I DO NOT compost these plants.  I bury them away from my garden.  This is to help control the tomato blight.  This blight would survive a compost season.  It probably is in the soil but I feel better not mixing it with my compost.

Ed

 

 

Cold-frame.

Patti commented that I should do a cold-frame post.  I’ll tell you about my permanent one and give some tips.  I won’t go into the construction of one because every gardening book I own has directions on how to build a cold-frame and there are 5,342 you tube videos on the same subject.

I made up that number, but there are a lot of videos on cold-frames.

Mine is a bottomless box that is made from 3/4 inch marine plywood and screwed together with outside deck screws.  It was made to fit an old storm window, which died a few years back.  I made the replacement frame and set into it 1/4 inch plexi-glass.  Is everyone wondering where I got the marine plywood??  I ordered it from my plywood wholesaler, I’m a cabinet maker.  I use 3/4 inch marine plywood for toe kick material when there is a water/moisture problem, say in a basement.  I also use it for the 4 inch backsplash sub-strait for a plastic laminate counter top when there is a sink in the counter.  Have you ever seen a plastic laminated vanity top with the backsplash swollen in back of the sink, the laminate falling off and a black mold line where the backsplash sits on the counter?  This is from a particle board sub-strait, marine plywood doesn’t react this way.  I have never painted this cold-frame and it has got to be about 10 years old.  Outside all of the time and buried under snow from the snow-blower because it is right by the driveway.

cold-frame with removable shelves

cold-frame with removable shelves

When the seedling are small I put them on shelves so they are in the sun and not shaded by the box.  As they grow I remove the shelves.  One year my tomato plants were so tall, I had to dig out the dirt in the floor of the frame to lower them enough to close the hinged top.DSCF0002I’ve never lost any plants do to frost in my cold-frame but I have fried most of my tomato plants one year.  I didn’t open the top on a very sunny day and the temperature inside got too hot for the plants.  The outside air temperature wasn’t that high but the sun on the glass topped box was too much.  I prop open the glass top to cool the frame down.  If it is a beautiful day, like today, I just open the frame all the way.  This year, with free-ranging chickens, I have to remember to place a section of wire fencing over the opened frame or the ladies will jump right in and do their thing.  That would not be good.

Potting shed.

Well, I would like to have a potting shed/greenhouse someday.

my potting shed on a really nice day 4/27/13

my potting shed on a really nice day 4/27/13

In my potting shed this afternoon, I was able to thin my lettuce, basil and leek seedlings.  I also potted one sweet potato slip that had roots attached to it, that I cut from my sprouted sweet potato,.  I cut off two more slips that didn’t have any roots and placed them in long-stemmed wine glasses (we are a classy gardener)  till they grow some roots.

thinning seedlings

thinning seedlings

sprouting sweet potato

sprouting sweet potato

slips growing on sweet potato 4/27/13

slips growing on sweet potato 4/27/13

cut off slip with roots

cut off slip with roots

potted slip

potted slip

long stemmed wine glasses with slips

long stemmed wine glasses with slips

And now for the Rabbit.  I have a wild rabbit that calls my back yard home, I think he/she lives under one of my large Rhododendrons.  The chickens and the rabbit seem to tolerate each other pretty well.  Jack will sometimes chase the rabbit off.

chicken watching rabbit from stone wall 4/27/13

chicken watching rabbit from stone wall 4/27/13

as close as it gets

as close as it gets

Does everybody know that if you click on my pictures they should enlarge??

Ed

This will be the last in this series. Maybe.  In my spot of New England, carpenter ants, come calling every spring and through out the summer.  I have battled them every year I have lived here, which is a few decades.  Everyone worries about termites but I think carpenter ants do more damage in half the time.

Even with a few days that have been warm, I still am using the wood-stove for heat.  I store my kindling in trash barrels outside to keep the wood dry.  When I went to get some from my last barrel, that was against the side of the shed, there were big black carpenter ants in the barrel.  In years past I would have used a couple of bug bombs on them.  Now, I call over the ladies and dump out the kindling.  After kicking the pieces around to reveal the hiding ants I think the ladies got all of them. They will be turning them into my morning breakfast tonight.

They are amazing creatures and so useful.

DSCF0004

searching for carpenter ants 4/25/13

searching for carpenter ants 4/25/13

Tomatoes.  I got a late start with starting my tomato seeds this year, 4/3/13 is when I planted most of them.  Today I transplanted them to two 9-packs.  They look so small.  Will they be ready in 4-5 weeks to go into the garden??  They will be ready, might be small, but they’ll be ready.  I could always go the a garden center and buy a larger plant.  No, I’m too frugal.

Cold-frame 4/25/13

Cold-frame 4/25/13

The tomatoes are in the front tray, the 3 round cookie containers are my original starting pots.  There are more plants in these if I need more.  The back tray has my lettuce and basil on the left, then my leeks and finally my sweet potato slips.  The slips are big enough to be cut off of the potato and potted.  Maybe this weekend.

It is so nice to be playing in the dirt.

Ed

 

After a very nice soaking rain Friday night into Saturday this was on my garage door.  It was 4 inches long.  I didn’t have it for breakfast Saturday morning but after my ladies (chickens) played a round of keep-a-way with it, they turned it into a Sunday morning egg.

4 inch long slug

4 inch long slug

Sweet potato update;  I have 6 or more slips growing nicely on my sweet potato.  Will probably cut some of the larger ones off this week and either pot them of stand them in water till they grow some roots.

sweet potato slips  4/21/13

sweet potato slips 4/21/13

 

Ed

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