That wonderful wife of mine sure does have one magic green thumb.
She's demonstrated her prowess time and time again with her work among our raised beds, and I'll be darned if this very special lady isn't doing it again this year with a brand new crop.
This green thumb came as a surprise to her. Her parents didn't let her garden much when she was a child. Unlike my mother who pressed a spade in my hand, pointed out a patch of dirt and uttered the command "dig," Venus got no such lesson.
It wasn't until we moved into our first home in the Spring of 2003, did I first begin to realize that she had a special talent. Everything she plants not only pops out of the ground, it absolutely thrives.
And I have the photos to prove it. A before and after shot that amazes me.
And here is that "before" shot. This was taken about two weeks after Venus used an entire 4X8 raised bed to plant several rows of special potatoes called "All Blue" and "Cranberry Red." Venus planted her potatoes in mid-March -- a tad early to be sure. But she wants potatoes for a "Red, White and Blue" potato salad for the upcoming 4th of July holiday.
The picture was taken during the last weekend of March -- right after these special spuds that supposedly "retain their color after cooking" had sprouted.
What was to follow still continues to amaze me.
You see, I'm not sure if it's the combination of the raised beds, special fertilizer or just my wife's green thumb that resulted in the exponetial growth that followed. Indeed, the bed was recharged this spring with three bags of steer manure compost. I did -- and will continue with -- once a week liquid fertilizer treatments of Omega 666.
But -- in the space of just one month -- four weeks mind you, these plants grew into monsters. I'm still amazed by what is growing in the backyard. As you can tell by the "after" photos, these plants are so lush and green that you can't even see the soil below. I have no idea what is going on underneath those leaves, but whatever we're doing is working.
Each plant is also setting multiple flowers. They haven't bloomed yet, but the pods are popping out all over. In another week or two all of these green, lush potato plants will sprout flowers in the color of either "All Blue" or "Cranberry Red." We're not there yet. But it's about to happen.
This is a first for us. Venus and I have been thinking about growing potatoes for several years, but just never had the room. But now that the beds are in -- it's potato time.
There are many gardeners who strongly reccommend that you build up -- or mound -- soil or even straw around these plants after they reach five inches in height. The reason? Supposedly the plants will grow even more potatoes -- more than are growing right now just beneath the soil line.
But -- after talking with both Fred Hoffman and Nels Christenson (who've been at this gardening game a tad longer than Venus and I), I've been advised to do absolutely nothing. And -- so -- that's what we're doing. Absolutely nothing. No mound of dirt or straw will be added to these plants because it's not needed. We still might have some potatoes that will start growing above soil level, because the large, lush potato leaves are providing all the cover that these young spuds need.
I am just a tad concerned that this crop is going to produce far more potatoes than we know what to do with. And -- if that's the case -- please drop me a line and let me know if you're interested in a heapin' helpin' of the wife's Red, White and Blue potato salad creation.