Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Conclusion to Potato Experiment: Bin vs. Ground Method of Planting

We pulled out our potatoes on Friday and would like to share the results. I had discussed in an earlier post that we planted potatoes the conventional way and also in bins to see which method does better in terms of: 
1. Ease of harvest
2. Yield per area planted 
3. Size of the spuds
Ground Method: These potatoes shown above are from the control group which was planted in the ground. We planted 6 linear feet of bed space, containing 3 rows of potatoes. This yielded two 5gallon buckets full of large potatoes. 
1. Ease of harvest- They took a while to dig up since I didn't want to damage the potatoes. It took me an hour to dig this very small section and even though I was slow and careful, I still stabbed many potatoes.
2. Yield per area planted- The plants yielded so much more than we expected. 10gallons for 6ft of bed space was really good yield for us.
3. Size of the spuds- the spuds were very large, most were large or extra large in size.

This method was a great success. Great results in all three categories that we are judging by.
That's a lot of potato soup!
Bin Method: In the photo above, in the left lower tray. You can see a small amount of little potatoes. This is all that we found between the 3 bins that we planted. When pulling out the straw in the first bin, I found a fat field mouse who had clearly eaten his share of our potato crop. The next two bins were the same. Very few potatoes that could be kept. Most had been chewed on, or were eaten all the way. 

So for us, in our location, the bin method is not a good place to grow potatoes. The vermin ate most of the crop and probably started early since the plant growth was minimal as well. 

I wish I could have been able to compare the two methods without the interference from the mice. So, as a conclusion: We don't know which method is better for growing spuds because the test method was destroyed by field mice. Fat little jerks!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Itty Bitty Little Tomatoes.

We are loaded with cherry sized tomatoes right now. Every 3-4 days we pick another large bowl full.
We had more than we can eat and we don't want them to go bad. Tomatoes this small are a pain to can because they have to be peeled, so that's not a fun option. What we are left with is fresh salsa or dehydrating. We have already made some salsa, so we started drying them.
5 dehydrator trays produced 4 cups of dried tomatoes.

I picked another large bowl yesterday.
Today the dehydrator is loaded again today and will give us 4 more cups of dried goodness. 

These tomatoes are a great thing to have in the cupboard. You can add them to pastas or pizza and they will plump up a bit. Or drop them in the food processor with a little water and you can make your own tomato paste for spaghetti night.

Thanks for reading!

Yellow Pear: A Force to Be Reckoned With

When I was driving home from work yesterday I noticed something on the roof of the greenhouse. It had been a long night shift and I was tired so I forgot to check it out before I went to bed.
When I woke up, I went outside to pick some tomatoes for work.
There it was again. Hmmm.....
This is our tomato bed in the greenhouse. 3 tomato plants, all of them taller than 7ft. The highest point inside the greenhouse is 8ft4in. 
This is the yellow pear. It has grown to the roof, wiggled it's way through the plastic liner and popped out of the top. That is more than 10ft of vertical growth. It gets better.
The parts that haven't made it out of the top have fallen over on the shelf next to the tomato bed. This section of the plant is more than 11feet tall. We use companion planting in this bed. We planted lots of carrots around the tomato plants. I am not sure if that has helped them grow so tall or if it is the heat and protection of the greenhouse. Either way, we love the results.
The carnivorous plant Herman is also growing very well. Soon it will be as tall as the tomato plants.

Have your tomatoes ever busted free? Tell us about it.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Garden photos.

It has been a busy end of the summer or start to the fall, however you look at it. Nearly every day the of the last two weeks Kelsi and/or  I have been preserving foods for the winter. Whether that is Kelsi's homemade breads, canning, or freezing veggies. We are busy.

We plan to post pictures of the canning we have done at the end of the season. It is more impressive that way.
This pile of tomatoes represents 2.5 gallons of freshly picked deliciousness. A gallon went to fresh salsa that we made yesterday, and the other gallon and a half we dehydrated today.
The beans have finally made it to the top of the trellis which is an 8foot climb.
The trellis sure makes for some easy picking. They just dangle down from between the holes of the trellis.

This is a volunteer squash that grew next to the bean trellis. It trailed up the trellis about 4ft and here grows a nice looking squash. It appears to be a spaghetti squash crossed with a zucchini.
This is the 1.5gallons of cherry/yellow pear tomatoes that are dehydrating right now

Hope your garden is doing well also!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Product Approval by Test Subject: 07112010

Disclaimer: The Halpern Homestead in no way supports or encourages animal testing. Please do not repeat the tests you are about to see.

Test Subject: 07112010 A.K.A. Matilda
Purpose of Test: To determine comfort and safety of baby related items.

Item: Rocker/Glider 

Result: Approved

Item: Crib.

Result: Approved

Item: Bouncer

Result: Approved

Item: Changing table

Result: Approved; Additional approval provided by Canine 06162006(Khma)

Thanks for reading!