Last weekend at our Open House the kids harvested the last of the All Blue potatoes. The plants were looking pretty sad by the time we got to them. Which is fine. That’s what potato plants do. When the vines die down then you have an easy way to tell that they aren’t doing anything more to grow the potatoes and you can take them out of the ground now. The ones I hadn’t already stolen ‘new’ for potato salads, that is.
This week during our Open Garden time, we pulled the spent vines and tossed them into the compost. Then we added a layer of finished compost and the worm castings we saved when we added a new level to the worm farm and mixed those in well with the existing soil.
Peas like to have something to climb on, even if they aren’t the pole varieties that grow very tall. On one side we put in Cascadia Snap peas and the seed packet says they climb to 32″. Our poles extend well beyond that, but we figured there was no harm and that way the poles stay a good size to use with our determinant tomato plants in the Spring.
The other side of the bin holds Oregon Sugar Pod Snow Peas, the ones that you pick and eat flat. We are only expecting those vines to grow to 28″ or so, but it still helps to keep pea vines off the ground when you are growing them in the Fall. We don’t know if the weather will be wet or the slugs will be hungry so climbing gives the vines a little bit of an edge against both bugs and disease. Peas also don’t like to be touched and having them staked will make it easier for us to harvest the peas without messing too much with the sensitive vines or possibly spreading disease from one plant to another.
The Cascadia peas are planted ~1″ to 1 1/2″ apart and the Oregon Sugar Pod packet insists that they need 2″. The packet actually says “Seed Spacing: 2″ (Yes. 2″)” which made me feel like they knew me and maybe had seen how closely we had packed in the peas last year during the Winter Pea Trial. I think for one of those varieites we calculated almost 100 peas planted in a single square foot. We gave the Oregon Sugar Pods each their 2″. If they don’t all sprout we can always fill in next week when we see what we’ve got coming up.
The middle section of the bed on the Oregon Sugar Pod side we planted some Golden Beets. Next week during Open Garden we can keep filling in the bed. It might be nice to try some greens along the front of the bed where they will get a bit of shade and we have a seed donation package coming from Territorial Seed Company that might have some interesting things in it we’ll want to add. We also still have kale, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and celery plants we have started that are all getting ready to look for more permanent homes. There’s always plenty to do in the Dirt to Dinner garden!