The thermometer has been turned up to scorchio!, so what better way to enjoy the hot weather than
to task myself with digging up some new potatoes – idiot!
I think I lost half a kilo (2.2 pounds in old money) just digging up these few!
The rest of my peas have also been picked and are bathing in the sun awaiting a good threshing, so even if all else fails I have
potatoes and peas to live on.
Two days ago (16 June 2011) we had the lunar eclipse pass over Bulgaria at the not unreasonable time of 21:22. I
informed the concregation at the pub, that the moon would be turning red and then disappear (during totality). To which Ali in his
usual dry sarcasm translated this to Hussain (Imam) that I am like Gallileo.
At approximately 20:30 that evening Ali was outside, and called to say that moon had already disappeared (It had behind a load of cloud
and that was the last that was seen of it). I will not be making predictions of celestial happenings again in the pub as seems they are just wasted!
I don’t like using pesticides, or herbicides, because lets face it the word ‘cide’ basicaly translates as ‘poison’ and as I am eating quite a
lot of what I grow, I will only be poisoning myself. Other than that though, if I could invent a mini-nuclear bomb to wipe out the beasts that
are devouring my potatoes, without leaving any toxic residue my finger would be on the button – The little bastards!
These little gits are going to get it!
So out with the sprayer and hopefully what I have been told will get rid of them without causing too much damdege to me, some Bulgarian magic
blue powder mixed with water. As Kilgore said in Apolcalypse Now: I love the smell of Napalm in the morning.
I have also planted out french beans, watermelon, honeydew melons, and some really weird looking gourds, that although you cannot eat
do grow into some great shapes and make my neighbours roll there eyes at me.
I have concluded my thesis on potato growing and am ready to release the results. After struggling getting last years crop of potatoes out of the ground, and knowing that I had probably left a good few in there as well, I decided this year to grow some in containers (well stacks of old tyres).
The difference in results is quite amazing. I have based my work on the concept of efficent growning. Ie how much time and work was required to grow x amount of potatoes. My maths teachers would be proud – finally a use for algebra!
Normal trench dug potatoes.
Spring digging, manuring and planting – 8 hours.
Weeding and earthing up – 4 hours.
Harvesting (August) – 6 hours.
Yield of potatoes – 62Kg in 18 hours of (hardish) work = 3.44 Kg per hour!
Container Sample(old tyres)
My potatoes from my tyre stack.
Digging and planting – 5 mins.
Earthing up (adding a tyre and soil) – 1 hour (approx 20 min a tyre)
Harvesting (push over tyres and pick) – 20 mins
Yield of potatoes(1 container 3 tyres high)- 6.2Kg in 1.41 (easyish) hours = 4.37Kg per hour!
A clear winner, so instead of rows and rows of potatoes from now on i shall have rows of containers. I shall try and explain my method to the pub tonight. They already think I am a bit mad – no doubt this will confirm it.
First of all, Potatoes, I have grown tons of the damn things. Excellent I shall not be
buying any this year. I will have plenty to eat all through the winter as well as having loads of new potatoes now for salads, or just boiled with butter. The
problem though with potatoes is not planting them or digging the ground is the spring before they are planted. It is getting the blighters out of the ground.
This unfortunately is having to be done in August when it is 35C. I think I have lost 5 kg in swaet just to get them out. There must be an easier way.
So I have been giving this some considerable thought this year and am experimanting with containers. The art of self reliant living, is not to work yourself into an
early grave, but to be efficient in the way you provide for yourself. Or at least that is my slant on self reliant living.
I have an endless supply of manure from both sheep and cows if I need it. This when well rotted down is excellent for growing your spuds in. I have also got]
a collection of old tyres, thanks to the excellent road surfaces in Bulgaria. When ever I have a puncture (5 in the last two years) I always keep hold of the old tyre.
Thinking that I might have a use for them. At last I have found one. When stacked vertically I have experimented growing some spuds this year. If it is successful, I shall
not be digging for victory next year.