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POTATO PLANTING

Check out this idea for planting potatoes.  Click this link for more info.

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Potato Planting Time: Doing it!

Today I decided to pretend the temperature is a balmy 60 degrees and install at least one of my potato towers.  I went to Home Depot the other day to get the lovely green wire that Mavis Butterfield of One Hundred Dollars a Month used for her potato towers.  Alas the cheapest I could find was $45.00 so I opted for some chicken wire I had on hand and some fallen bamboo that I had found to stabilize the sides.  Free is impossible to beat.  My potato tower does not look as fine as Mavis's, but I can live with that. (I hope my neighbors can too.)

Below is a photo of my potato tower:

I cleared away the compost down to the cardboard in the bottom of my raised bed and set the chicken wire cage inside.  Then I shoveled the soil back inside the cage and put straw on top of the soil and built it up about four inches all around on the sides to make a nest.

 Next, I shoved about 4 inches of compost on top of the straw.

Then I placed my potatoes on top of the soil as you can see in the photo below;

As a final step, I shoveled about four inches of soil and straw on top of the potatoes.  Now my potato tower looks like it did in Step 1.  When the potato plants are about 6 or 7 inches high, I will once again cover them in soil and straw just up to within an inch of their tops.  This process of layering with soil and straw will end when the potato plant begins to bloom.  At that time, some of the potatoes on the bottom level will likely be ready to harvest.

Rue

Rue

Although a bitter herb, Rue (Ruta graveolens) is beautiful and unique, and well worth growing in your garden. The unique lobular leaves are attractive, and the plant is easy to grow. Rue is a hardy, evergreen, somewhat shrubby, plant that is a native of Southern Europe. The leaves are alternate, bluish-green, bi- or tripinnate, and emit a powerful, disagreeable odor and have an exceedingly bitter, acrid and nauseous taste. Place it away from seating areas for this reason, but that should not deter you from growing it. The greenish-yellow flowers are in terminal panicles, blossoming from June to September. In England rue is one of the oldest garden plants, cultivated for its use medicinally, having, together with other herbs, been introduced by the Romans. It is much less commonly grown in the United States but is available at garden centers that specialize in herbs. I have grown it before when I had a large raised herb garden, and it provided a unique contrast to other herb foliage.

Shakespeare refers to rue in Richard III:

'Here in this place

I'll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace;

Rue, even for ruth, shall shortly here be seen,

In the remembrance of a weeping queen.'

'Herb of Grace", is a great ornamental that butterflies love. Thought to bring wealth and good fortune!

From A Modern Herbal by Ms. M. Grieve: “Rue will live much longer and is less liable to be injured by frost in winter when grown in a poor, dry, rubbishy soil than in good ground.” That certainly sounds like North Texas to me. It prefers some protection from the late afternoon sun.

Sources include:

Companionplants.com and http://www.thegrowers-exchange.com/articles.asp?ID=145 have them on line

Seeds can be obtained from http://www.johnnyseeds.com

Rue always comes with a warning because some people can react to the oils in the leaves, and it does have strong pharmacologic properties when taken internally. It is widely used has a medicinal herb, but its properties should not be taken lightly-please research thoroughly.