Friday, March 14, 2014

The Bates Motel, eh nah...I prefer the Ranch

[Disclaimer and Parental Notice: This episode contains scenes of gore, violence and the massacre of potatoes and has been rated GS-13. If you lack a sense of humor or are easily offended by scenes of potato decapitation this episode is not for you please do not read!]

Welcome back to another trowel-gripping soil-turning adventure packed episode of Lost In the Farmer’s Market! In our last episode the Tomato mafia was planning its takeover of the growing tray while the Dino Kale and herbs had immigrated to the cold frame. In today’s episode titled “Interview with the Aardappel” we take a close look at a red headed stepchild cousin of the more famous tomato mafia! Stay tuned folks it’s going to be real good. But before we start, a fellow farmer’s market vendor got the Order of the long leaf pine award recently and here are some photos from Tuesdays ceremony.

So there's Greg  accepting the award he had no idea he was going to get.

And they had these cupcakes at the event, theyw ere too pretty to eat I tells ya!
Ok so then silliness aside, today’s topic is the Aardappel or translated from Dutch the potato. Yeah that’s right I threw a naming curve ball there. In regards to common names of things all of you out there should remember that any given plant you may grow or buy could have several if not dozens of common names. Always mind the scientific name of a plant to make sure you are getting what you want. With that said we are talking about potatoes this week and more so how to propagate potatoes. The specimen we are using is called Dark Red Norland and it is a small to medium sized red-skinned* potato.

Me: Ok potatoes group photograph! 
Potatoes: YAAAAAAAY!
The first step is to identify potatoes that are in the right condition for removal of cuttings or “slips”. In the picture above this batch of Norland potatoes has growing points, and have begun to shrink due to the moisture loss of the growing points. Note the crinkling of the skin. These potatoes are barely fit for eating, a but green on the inside and rubbery to the touch.

Me: Alright how about a close up Mr. Potato?
Mr Potato: Wooo just make sure to get the good side of my eyes!
So the next step is identifying a good tuber to take slips from and identifying the best slips to take. The potato in the example clearly has a predominant side as pictured and from that will come an especially vigorous plant in a few months.

Me: Ok now to the next step…
Mr Potato: Hey….what are you doing with that? NOOOOOOO! *Dieing gargle!*
As a side note you may want to imagine that side effect from Hitchcock’s Psycho as I cut the potato there for extra comedic effect.  Basically as you can see in the next picture, taking a bit of flesh with the growing point is perfectly normal. That bit of flesh will briefly aid the cutting as a moisture reservoir until it decays providing a bit of organic matter. Now, it should be said that should your potato not have green flesh, what is left after you take the cuttings is theoretically still edible or can be fed to the compost; it is purely your call. Green potatoes however can make you quite ill in the way that you and the commode may become BFF’s forever if you get my meaning.

Mr Potato: *twitches and flails headlessly*
Me: Yup...haters gonna hate! 
Me: hmm let’s check on the others. *Opens container*
Me: Well, mission accomplished!
Of course this discussion would not be completed without showing you what the end product is. As you can see below these potatoes were cut, matured in a humidity container and potted some time ago and they are about right for the time of year. As the shameless prop of the day yes these are stock for sale so expect them at the booth in about a week or two.
They're small now but once the weather stays warm they'll take off.

So enough with the depictions of potato decapitation and onward to the market section of this episode as we must move on to something else.  Now keep in mind the first day of spring is on Thursday the 20th and tomorrow, it is supposed to have a high temperature of 70 degrees and is said to be partly cloudy, no rain. Which means the market will be glorious, and thus if you did not know, the Fayetteville Farmer’s market is located in downtown Fayetteville at 325 Franklin Street in the front parking lot of the Fayetteville transportation museum. The Market runs from 9:00 am through 1:00 pm and there is plenty of very close parking. You’ve got the basics now let’s get on with the plants and materials list for the booth this weekend.

Southward Skies: A northern guide to southern Gardening
This is the second edition of my book, which was published using data compiled from several years of test garden operations. It’s written to aid gardeners of all skill levels in successful garden methods that are targeted for the south east but had proven to be a valued resource for gardens across the eastern coast. It’s certainly a good gift for that gardener you know or for yourself if you’d like to have a reliable field guide. The book costs $25.00 and we do take checks for this item, you can even have it signed.

Black Magic Fertilizer
That’s right you’ve heard about it in trials all summer. This specially formulated liquid fertilizer was made and tested at the test gardens using natural ingredients and no chemicals. The result explosive growth, great harvests and of course no environmental side effects! We’re making batches of this stuff to order, at $6.00 per gallon of fertilizer. You can either order it at the market and pick it up the next week or have it delivered to your home in the Fayetteville area for a delivery charge of an additional $2.00.

House Plants
1x Dancing Bones Cactus ($3.00)
5x Aloe Vera ($5.00)

Garden Plants
10x Dinosaur Kale, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Savoy Cabbage, gallon pot ($3.00)

1x Green Fennel, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Black Fennel, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Bloody Sorrel, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Lamb’s Ear, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
5x Green Lavender-Cotton, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Tansy, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Ozard Beauty Strawberry
Martha Washington Asparagus
Dark Red Norland Potato

Cabbage, Pak Choi
Swiss Chard
Lettuce, Romaine
Lettuce, Freedom Gourmet Mix

Tomato, Amana Orange
Tomato, Black Krim
Tomato, Blue Berries
Tomato, Brown Berry
Tomato, Hillbilly Potato Leaf
Tomato, Paul Robeson
Tomato, San Marzano
Tomato, Tlacolula

The weekly plant list wraps up this week’s episode of Chainsaw Potato Massacre…wait…no…sorry wrong script. This week’s episode of Lost in the farmer’s market Next week, well the topic may or may not cover more crops coming to the market or some other tips and tricks on propagation or both.. just tune in and find out. As always Keep ‘em growing!

Many potatoes were harmed in the filming of this episode, we’ll hurt some more of ‘em too. Hey PETA your hate mail sent to the studio fuels us…bring….it….on! *Stabs a potato*  Yessss!

By the way this is the mother holiday cactus from which all the ones sold came from, and it is STILL in bloom this also is what I mean by dark pink.

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