We've got the potatos all dug up. We did it over two weekends. I haven't weighed them yet, but visually it looks like we got more than last year. We are letting them sit for two weeks for the skins to harden before we start weighing them by variety. I can tell at a glance that the red La Soda did very well this year, both the seed potatoes that we bought and the ones that we saved our own seed from. So did the Canela Russets, which are a variety of Russets that have a much lighter skin than most Russets, but taste just like Russets, only they were a lot smaller than they should have been, but they really made a lot. They should have been 4 or 5 inches long, but we got them about 3 inches long. We also got a lot of Kennebecs from our seed potatoes and a ton of our own Gold Rush potatos.
By and large the seed potatoes we saved did better than then one we bought from the nursery, except the red La Soda. The ones we planted from the nursery were bigger than ours to begin with, though. We saved smaller ones, so even chitted, the ones from the nursery were bigger pieces than the small whole ones we planted. That makes a difference. But ours still did well, a lot better than last year.
Anyway, the grocery store potatos that we planted that sprouted on us, also did very well, which I find very interesting, because the Russets weren't even organic, so had probably been sprayed with sprout inhibitor, but they sure had sprouted a lot when Mom gave me the half bag to throw away and DH and I decided to make another row and plant them. We also did 3 rows of organic yellow potatoes that we had let sprout to plant as well, because shipping the potatoes was so expensive and most yellow potatoes cost more than any other kind from the nurseries.
I'll have to note it all down in my garden notebook and compare it all to last year when I have the final numbers, but with a cursory glance that seems to be how it has come out. We had good luck last year with the grocery store potatoes, too, whether organic or not, and planted a lot more of those than nursery seed potatoes.
I will again save out seed potatoes, but will only purchase two varieties this year instead of 5 or 6. I want to get more of the Magic Molly French Fingerlings and the German Butterballs. I was successful enough with the other varieties to save some of those out, but only enough of the Butterballs to have 4 or 5 meals with them. I only got 3 pounds of them to plant last year to try, so next year I'd like to get 25 pounds of them. The Magic Mollys we could have about 10 meals from or have one meal from and save the rest to plant, but I would really rather eat them and get 25 pounds of them to plant. I only got 5 pounds of those and so got more of them and they were bigger than the Butterballs because we didn't dig them early like you can.
If I can find both of them in 25 pound increments and not just 50. I really have to watch for when they become available to order. Last year I didn't start checking until January and a lot of the 25 pound selections had already sold out. They don't ship them until planting time, but people were ordering really early so I am starting now to check weekly. I don't need 50 pounds of each. The shipping on that is way too much. We will only eat one meal of each to make sure we like those varieties and I will hold back on making more until we know about whether we can order more in case we do have to save all of those for seed potatoes.
The rest of the yellow potatos I planted were the Gold Rush seed potatoes I saved from last year. Those did pretty well, too. There was a lot of production for the amount I planted, which was not as much as I wanted to, but still another row than last year. I'll double what I save out for next year. Eventually I will have enough of each variety I want to plant to never have to buy seed potatoes at all from the nursery.
All that's left to do there is to put down lime and rototill it into the soil. I'm thinking about putting down some peat and rototilling that in as well. There is still a lot of clay in the soil despite how much we have amended it back there. I'm not even sure we'd use a whole bag this year, maybe half and see how that goes. We'd also rototill that in and some more compost. Then we'll go out to the bay and harvest enough seaweed to put down on top of it and cover it with black plastic and the seaweed will compost down over the rest of the fall, all winter, and into the early spring and feed the soil.
When you can't buy manure anymore and still want to keep your garden organic, you go with what you have, and seaweed is a great fertilizer. Just make sure you have a license for gathering sea plants. It's usually the same one as for gathering shell fish and generally is separate and less expensive than a full on fishing license.
My tomatoes are still going so I am letting them. I am going to thin out the vines, though, and trim off any flowers left. The nights are still 48 to 50 and the leaves have not died at all and the days are in the mid to low 70's, so no reason to pull them out. I do want to plant garlic where the tomatoes and peppers are, but I generally wait until the first nice day after the first frost to plant them.
In a typical year the first frost is Halloween, but it's not feeling like a typical year. It's feeling like an Indian summer year, which we get about once every 5 years or so. Then the first frost goes into mid to late November. It's been as late as December 2nd before on a year that had no snow and barely even froze. I plant in November anyway when that happens. The garlic still grows fine.
I do need to get my sage and thyme out of the containers they are in and into one of the garden beds. They have both burst their plastic containers because they are so big. I didn't have room for them in the beds this year, but now I will get them in place so I do.
I still have one very determined cucumber plant alive, but if it gets much colder at night it's going to die. It's got a few small plants on it. I am thinking of tenting its trellis in some clear plastic, at least until they get big enough to eat.
The zucchini plants have some small zucchini on them, but again, I am not sure if they will get big enough to eat. Maybe I will tent their hoops, too. I need to harvest the peppers, too. Only the cayenne has peppers left. I am thinking about bringing the jalapeño plant inside for the winter and leaving it under a grow light. It did not have ideal conditions this year and got overshadowed by it's neighbor plants. I like doing pico de gallo year round, but the jalapeños in winter are always so dinky. I know japapños are still a cheap pepper, but I like them big. I want to do one last harvest of basil before pulling the plants. They will die the minute it hits 45 at night. We have maybe another week before that happens.
I'm going to grow some cilantro (for the pico), parsley and basil in my Aerogarden this fall and through the winter. Then I don't have to buy bunches, I can just snip what I need, and if it grows too big I can dehydrate the rest. I always feel like I am wasting some with the bunches, because they go from fresh to suddenly slimy when I go to use up.
I am thinking of getting the biggest Aerogarden, so I can grow some cherry tomatoes and some lettuce, too. I have enough room. Or if I get the biggest one, I can grow a jalapeño plant, a cherry tomato plant, and bell pepper plant in that, too, along with some lettuces in the front. That would be nice, because it has the built in lights on a timer, so I only have to put in the water and the fertilizer when it tells me too. And they have a big reservoir outside the Aerogarden itself that you can buy and hook into it , so you don't have to fill the smaller one in the machine itself, so you aren't watering as often if you want to buy that.
I haven't spent my allowance in a long time, so right now I have $500 in the envelop, and it will be $550 with tomorrow's payday. The one I want, along with the grow pods I want, plus tax, will cost $869.01. There's no shipping over $500. If I want to get the extra reservoir, it would cost an additional $38.84, so a grand total of $907.85. Which means I need to come up with $357.85 to buy it. That means if I save my next 5 allowances I'll have $250, which brings it to 107.85, so I can use part of my Christmas money from DH of $200.
We usually order our Christmas presents in November, though, so technically I wouldn't have to use any of December's allowances at all, doing that. I could just use the Christmas money as usual and add it to the allowance I would have saved by November 25th, which is when I'd be able to order. I have $10.53 left in the gardening envelope, so that will make up the shortfall of $7.85, so that will work out. If MIL gives us our Christmas money early so we can order stuff so it will be here by Christmas, I could use that as well.
That's usually somewhere around $200 each for me and DH and $100 or $150 for the kids. Not sure about this year, though. Her stocks probably got hit as hard as ours were, but she still has to take out $15,000 a year and she doesn't need that to live on between social security (she was able to claim FIL's) and she got FIL's pension since he was still employed when he died. That's a little over $3000 a month and she has no debt. She doesn't even spend all of that.
Or I could just use the money in the beef envelope for next year's steer and buy it now. That's $407 and I wouldn't need all of it. Then I can start saving for it again. We still have several months before we are ready to get a beef. I'm planning for late July or August, so I have enough time to replace the money. Or I could just replace the beef money with my Christmas money and still count the new Aerogarden as my Christmas present from DH and MIL. Maybe that would be the better choice. Then I could order now and I'd get it going much sooner.
I had been saving up my allowance for a new computer. Not that there is anything wrong with this computer, but I just feel like there should be a replacement fund for when it goes belly up. I'd like a nicer one than I could afford last time. I am used to nicer ones. But I can start saving up for that again. I'd rather be able to grow some vegetables and herbs indoors and not have to go to the store just for greens or the fresh herbs I use the most or pay for bell peppers, which are ridiculous these days, especially in winter.
DD needs a new computer soon. Hers is ancient. I'm really surprised it is still going. It's a desktop and it is about ten years old and she's so close to maxing out the memory, despite doing all the things to compress and get rid of unneeded junk files. I've got money for that set aside and we are waiting for the Black Friday sales online or Cyber Monday or whatever.
She just wants a new desktop and she knows which one she wants. And we will take the hard drive out of the old one and put it into the new one so she doesn't have to transfer everything the hard way after running all the utility fixits in case that helps. I'm giving in and trying that. It has a free 60 day trial as part of my family Norton licenses and will work across all of our computers. If we like it, we'll probably keep it. I want to see if it makes any difference first. 60 days is a good trial period.
Tomorrow is payday. I am going to try to get back in the habit of posting my payday reports for accountability. I haven't wanted to and I still don't want to. They won't be pretty for a while with so much going to the credit card, but we'll get there, one payday at a time.
I have a beautiful pot roast in Instant Pot 1 and am about to put Yellow potatoes in Instant Pot 2. Not mine, these are still from the store, since ours have to have the skin harden for two weeks for proper long-term storage. They will also be easier to peel. But what I am making are new potatoes from this season and not the old ones from the potato sheds that were grown last year. So they taste great. When I get through what I have left, ours will be ready.
Well, I'm off to peruse the grocery ads. Hopefully there will be some good sales. I'd love some boneless skinless chicken or some pot roast so I can can some up. I am out of canned chicken and I don't have enough beef to make me happy. I'd also like to can some carrots. There are not enough on my shelves to get through until next year's harvest. I saw they were putting out ten pound bags of organic ones when I shopped two weeks ago, but I was running out of grocery money and wanted to have enough if I needed it for the second week.
They also had 25 bags of regular juicing carrots, but it is hard for me to can 25 pounds of carrots in one go and I prefer organic since carrots pull up everything that is in the soil. Farmers plant carrots to clear contaminants from the soil. They don't sell those ones, but even the ones planted regular can still pull up stuff they don't know is in the fields. Parsnips are good at that, too.
We will can about half of the potatoes we harvested, except the reds and store russets. They don't can as well. Yellows can the best. I will try canning a batch of the canela russets and see. Our green bean harvest wasn't great this year because we planted so late. I do have a full shelf, but I wanted two. So I will probably stock up on canned ones for the store so I can have a full shelve of those. I have about 24 cans of those and it fills 1/4 of the shelf, so I'd need 72. If I buy two cases every time I visit Winco, that should do it. We didn't plant corn this year, but we don't eat as much of that. We have 12 cans of that and I think another 12 cans would be sufficient for a years supply for us.
Okay, now I'm really off.