Life Beyond Potatoes?

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Malabar Spinach seedlingsJust for the record, we do grow things other than potatoes in the Dirt to Dinner garden. The fact that we’ve harvested over 10 pounds of potatoes in the last two days doesn’t mean anything. We had to move them out of the way to make room for other things to grow, that’s all. ;-)

If you look closely you can see that these little beauties are Malabar Spinach.  (Click the photo to enlarge.) The kind with the purple stems. Which I hope are going to climb these 8 foot tall bamboo poles and mingle with the ‘Scarlet Runner’ beans I planted at the base of the fourth pole. In my imagination it’s a beautiful combination.

Borage FlowerWe also added three types of basil. Some, called ‘Pestu’, from seed that’s been in the family for over a hundred years, ‘African Blue’ basil which I bought at Common Ground and ‘Amethyst’ basil, just because I thought it would look nice mixed in with all the tomatoes and the green basil plants.

Our beneficials are doing the trick. We have more insect, reptile and bird life in the garden this year than ever before. The ‘Blue Borage’ is covered with flowers and bees. They love it! And it’s a good thing I didn’t ever get a chance to plant the full dozen borage I had planned for the front garden this year. It turns out that ‘Blue Borage’ is huge! And it just keeps on growing, flowering, spreading out in all directions.

Cherokee Purple Tomato TrialThe ‘Cherokee Purple’ trial patch is in, salmon heads, egg shells, bone meal and all. We planted the best seedling from each of four different seed houses ‘Cherokee Purple’ seeds to compare. And there are ‘Cherokee Chocolate’, ‘Rosso Sicilian’ and ‘Pruden’s Purple’ all out there keeping them company. Last year was a terrible tomato year here, so this year we are doing everything we can to make them happy. I waited until May to plant them, even though it nearly killed me and it was probably warm enough a week before that. I amended with biodynamic compost and plan to water once a week with fish emulsion or liquid kelp. The ‘Cherokee Purple’ plants are spaced three feet apart to give them growing room and air circulation. It looks like a lot of space right now, but I’m hoping I don’t feel that way in September.

Our next project is finding room for squash, another dozen tomatoes, and lots more beans for drying. Good thing I’m reading Derek Fell’s Vertical Gardening. We’re going to need every square foot we can find this year!

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