The potatoes are making a bid for freedom….

What a strange growing season we’re having! Our spring was so cold and wet that I direct sowed my veggies almost two weeks later than usual – a huge difference when you consider that we have, on average, 117 frost-free days in the city.  (I didn’t start anything indoors this year or do any winter sowing).  June was pretty much a blur of rain – I’m not certain we actually saw sunlight for the entire month.  To this date, July has been considerably more moderate as far as temperature and drying are concerned…and my potatoes are kind of blissed out at the moment. I’ve got foliage going on like nobody’s business – I just hope there are a few tubers forming under there.  A gardener in the Alberta Gardening Facebook group recently remarked that her potato plants were over five feet tall and those that commented echoed her claim – this is clearly the year of giant potato plants in our province!

FPPNormandeau

And yes, those are hula hoops forming the tunnel in my raised bed…you can see how I set that all up here.  I’m a big fan of the hula hoops – they’re cheap, sturdy, and they liven up a public space with their colours!  (I’m not sure what our community garden leader thinks of them, but she hasn’t sent me a cease and desist letter so I’m guessing they don’t offend too many sensibilities).   Instead of row cover fabric this year, I put up fibreglass screen. Its purpose is two-fold: we have deer that like to jump the fence of the community garden and nibble, so this saves my beans; as well – and more importantly – we are plagued by frequent hailstorms in this part of the world, and this keeps most of the icy stones from shredding my squash.  I could combine this set-up with row cover fabric in future years – a good idea if I decide to plant cabbages and want to thwart flea beetles, or if I get seeds into the soil early and need a bit of protection against the cold – but for this year, the screen without the poly has been a satisfactory choice.

Did you plant potatoes this year?  And do you use hoop tunnels in your raised or in-ground beds?  

And…just for fun – what is your favourite way to make potato salad?  

Flowery Friday.

LilacFPNormandeau

A gorgeous lilac I found in a school yard on my way to work…before the snowfall of last weekend.  (It looks like most gardens emerged unscathed, and the moisture – even if it was stupidly cold and in a more solid form than we would have liked – was seriously welcome).

I was digging around in my files this week and I came across this little list of gardening “advice” I wrote a few years ago. Some of you will have read it before, but it might amuse you anyway:  Burnt Casseroles.  While you’re there, check out the rest of Jennifer’s blog – her photo essays and gardening design ideas are absolutely incredible!

Also, if you’re on Facebook, love to garden, and live in Alberta or if you just want to join because you’re interested in what we’re posting about (which means you could live anywhere in the world), I started a group called Alberta Gardening.  Click here to request to join – we’d love to see as many gardeners as possible have fun with this and share their experiences.

Enjoy your weekend!  What are your plans – gardening or otherwise?

P.S. If you’ve got a bunch of lilac flowers and you want to make a lovely floral jelly from them, I have a recipe that you might like to try.