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rainbowgardener
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how I plant!

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So this is my little 4'x4' potato patch. I'm going to keep adding to the bed... there's space there to make it more like 10x4. It may be too late to keep planting potatoes though?

In the meantime that patch has ten potato plants, ten onion sets, four basil plants, three cabbages and a petunia, a marigold, and a couple nasturtiums.

I know the ten potatoes is too many, but I didn't know how many would sprout (and it took them forever). So when a few of them get little baby potatoes on them, I will pull them, plant and all, so the others can get bigger.

But my take on crowding is that crowding a spot with a bunch of one thing (like the ten potato plants) doesn't do them any favors. But crowding by putting in a bunch of different stuff is different. The different things have different needs for what they take from the soil, they have different timing (by the time the potato plants are really getting big and need more space, the cabbages will be done) etc. The onions and basil help keep insects away from the cabbage and potato. The potato plants will provide some shade for the cabbages when it is getting too hot for them. And the petunia is good for nothing, except woman cannot live by bread (and potatoes) alone! I just love those purple petunias.
Here's from a companion planting guide:

Beans, cabbage, corn, and horseradish all help potatoes grow better and improve the flavor of your potatoes when grown together.

Tansy, nasturtium, coriander, and catnip planted nearby repel Colorado potato beetle.
https://organicgardening.about.com/od/ve ... anions.htm

And of course planting like this is efficient in making use of what still feels like limited space. (Currently I have about 220 sq feet of garden beds, eventually it should be close to 450 sq feet, but whatever it is, it always feels limited compared to all the things I might want to grow! :) )

Obviously I am still working on getting all the garden beds mulched....
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Lonesomedave
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Location: NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE- zone 6B - 7A on USDA plant hardiness map

Re: how I plant!

i like the idea...i bet crowding them a little won't do any harm....maybe smaller potatoes?....

i crowd all my stuff....some with other vegetables....my tomatoes and spinach for example.....and some with just one variety

when i crowd with one, i treat the container as if it were a single plant with multiple stalks

my strawberries, which are almost all in the ground, (as opposed to containers), i have SOMEWHAT crowded, but only by a little

my garden is limited to our front yard area and i believe this technique maximizes utilization of available space

assuming you have great soil (an assumption that i readily make, given what i have read of your posts over the years)....i predict much success


/dave/
Last edited by Lonesomedave on Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Fertilizer...Kelp Extract...Compost Tea...Fish Emulsion....Manure (tea)...etc....A little all the time is better than a lot at once... thus endeth the lesson....

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rainbowgardener
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Re: how I plant!

Hawaii? that's imafan. I am right near you, in a suburb of Chattanooga.

When I said too late to plant potatoes, I meant too hot for them...
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Lonesomedave
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Location: NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE- zone 6B - 7A on USDA plant hardiness map

Re: how I plant!

got ya'....have deleted references to hawaii...

/dave/
Fertilizer...Kelp Extract...Compost Tea...Fish Emulsion....Manure (tea)...etc....A little all the time is better than a lot at once... thus endeth the lesson....

imafan26
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Re: how I plant!

It's a nice garden Rainbow. I guess there will be some tweaking as you get used to your new set up and growing conditions. I have always interplanted to save space and besides I don't like row planting, too much bare ground for the weeds to take over.

My mom planted potatoes once, she kept digging them up years later from her raised garden bed. They were not edible though, the termites got into them and they were filled with holes.

I have planted sweet potatoes only because the leaves can be eaten too and I took them out because they like to take over.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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digitS'
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Re: how I plant!

I move volunteer orach plants in April in with the seed potatoes. There is plenty of room for them during their short season.

The potato harvest begins in mid- to late-July. They have yet to emerge altho' the soil is broken above some of the tubers. July doesn't seem so far away :). Anyway, they are all early or mid-season varieties.

I will dig out the bed completely over 2 or 3 weeks, taking only a few plants at a time. The resultant trench is a good place for the summer "compostables" and about 8" of soil covers that. After about a week of settling, I begin sowing seed for fall and winter greens - mostly bok choy.

By the end of August, I have to stop sowing seed. The first frosts will come before any greens from later sowings can be harvested. If the September cooldown occurs as usual, I will have some plants to move into a bed in the unheated greenhouse for December harvest. Yes, that's a long time from the seed going in the ground in August. If there is a warm early Fall, all those bok choy plants, etc. will be mature and harvested for the kitchen instead of being transplanted into the greenhouse. So, there is a little interplanting and more succession planting in the potato patch each year.

Most varied are my "salad beds." Lettuce transplants are usually on the outside and other greens may be on the inside of the beds with scallions and carrots in thin lines. Those beds will be emptied and green bean seed sown in early July.

Beds filled with onion won't have onions alone for long. Those scallions will be harvested right out of the middle of the bed, first. Cucumber starts can go in the openings. The scallions do not need to be a bunching onion or from sets. Sweet onions make good scallions for stir-fries and salads. The cucumbers may end up sharing the bed for quite some time with the bulbing sweet onions but those will give way by August.

Early cabbage often begins to come out of the garden in early July. Second plantings of zucchini fit quite nicely between the cabbage plants and take over the space once their cabbage neighbors are gone. This also works for broccoli and with other types of summer squash. Mildew can be a late-summer problem for squash planted in the spring. The July 4th zucchini can come right along and stay healthy until frost.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

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rainbowgardener
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Re: how I plant!

Here's another sample:

Image


It's an 8x4' bed. It has three tomato plants down the middle, nine broccoli plants down the two sides. The front part of the bed that didn't make it into the picture has two parsley plants. In back there's marigold and a couple little nasturtiums. They don't show up well, but there's I think six onion sets scattered through.

And the bed has now been mulched. It has a layer of fall leaves on the bottom covered with a layer of pulled weeds and grass clippings. Mulch is maybe 4" thick or a little more. So this is now a no-work bed, set to coast for awhile. As long as we get our normal summer rains, it won't need any watering. The soil is shaded and will stay cooler. Few weeds will make it through that. And in my experience, it even slows down diseases and pests that come up from the soil (though not necessarily those that fly in :) ) So I won't do anything but monitor it some and harvest. In a few weeks some weeds may start coming through. I will pull them and renew the mulch which will be thinned out by then.
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jal_ut
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Re: how I plant!

Quote: " Beans, cabbage, corn, and horseradish all help potatoes grow better and improve the flavor of your potatoes when grown together."

Sounds like an "old wives tale".

Plantin taters? Want some nice big spuds? Ok, plant a potato patch. Nothin else, just potatoes and put the plants spaced ten inches apart in rows and rows spaced 30 inches. When the plants are about ten inches tall drag up some soil from each side and hill them up a bit. Irrigate if needed. Yes, they do need water. Watch for bugs on the plants. Sometimes it is necessary to sprinkle something on the plants to keep the bugs off. Have fun!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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rainbowgardener
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Re: how I plant!

well, I know you don't believe it, but people didn't just make this stuff up. I have no idea about the flavor, and I'm not doing any control groups to test. But I believe I get lots more productivity out of my little 4x4' patch doing it this way. Crowding the potatoes any more they would compete with each other too much. But the cabbages and other stuff don't compete the same way, occupying different spaces and timing and needing somewhat different nutrients. The potato plants will be shading the cabbage plants by the time it is getting hot, keeps the cabbage going longer. Having the cabbages hidden amongst the potatoes and surrounded by aromatics (the onions and basil) makes it harder for the cabbage butterflies and other things to find them to lay their eggs. By the time the potato plants are really getting big and need more space, the cabbages will be done and out of the way.

I know it would be too labor intensive for you to plant fields like this. But my 16 sq. ft is going to produce a ton of food for me, with very little interference by bugs etc.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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