Tag Archives: sweet potatoes

Experiments of the year: sweet potatoes and cucamelons

What fun is gardening without some wacky experiments?

  1. Sweet potatoes.

I got six vines from Vesey’s, which arrived in rather pathetic condition (the packaging disclaimed wretched looking vines as “normal” and claimed they would perk up.  To be fair, they did.  Five of them made it).  Since they supposedly like under-watering, I left them mostly alone after initial establishment, although the underwatering got a little extreme in this terribly dry summer.  The vines were small, but had lovely purpley-green leaves.

I dug ’em up in September.  No idea what to expect.

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Vine 1 – Uhoh.  Off to a bad start.

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Vine 2 – Oh, that’s more like it.

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Vine 3 – That’s actually a real sized potato.

Unfortunately, there were no more potatoes still in the ground from these vines.  One vine = one potato.  NOT an impressive yield.  No efficiency points for area:productivity.  That’s the gamble with experiments.

But they made one very tasty meal.

2.  Cucamelons

These took off in the greenhouse.  Three vines swarmed up their strings and headed across the cross-ties, producing loads of these weird little grape-sized melons.

cucamelons-intro2Aptly named!  It tastes like a cucumber, or a melon, or is it a cucumber?  Totally bizarre combination of tastes.  If you’re like me, you probably haven’t had cucumber and melon in the same bite before.  Crunchy skin, like a cuke.

I have no pictures of my own because the guineas in the greenhouse enjoyed many more than I did.  This pic is from James Wong, who waxes more enthusiastic about the cucamelon than I do.

I’ll grow them again next year, though; they grow so easily, and I’ll try to find more to do with them.

Lightning bugs and chicken feet under a full moon

The lightning bugs are out in force tonight over the blueberries and the moon is pink and bright.

I was bodysnatching chickens out of the coop under cover of moonlight to rub vaseline on their feet.  Yes, you read that correctly.  This is half of the anti-scaly leg mite procedure, which my Silkies seem to  always have, and a few of the layers have mildly.  Since their feet look remarkably better after a night of vaseline so I thought I’d experiment with the moisturizing treatment before the exfoliating scrub, what the hell.

I did the layers first and they were not into it.  Easy to catch, but the coop was a writhing mass of complaining murmurs in the background.  They were squawking and squirming around fighting for the corner.  It was like Playing Koi (Lumosity)- what birds have I done?

The Silkies are a different breed.  They all stay in place and I pick them up one at a time, spa their feet, and replace them.  Just a little bit of peeping protest (including the rooster-he emits the most unmasculine squeaks when he’s handled) and then they stretch out for the foot rubs.  They are so small and delicate and soft and fluffy like you think a dandelion should feel.

It must be very confusing, but they seem to sort of enjoy the massage part.

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Oh, are you going broody too? How committed are you?
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Pretty committed then. I’ve shifted her to the other clean side of coop, it’s coop cleaning day.

We got two hot days, finally, but could I open the hive?   No! We had rip-your-hat-off wind that would not take a break.  Too windy.  Someday I’ll get to see in the hive.

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HW is in a 600km randoneuring event this weekend.  He is almost finished the two day (!) ride, but the heat and wind must have been horrible.  He is having difficulty in the last hours.

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An interesting bug

I am pleased with my sweet potatoes.  i planted the “slips” that came, although they looked like ragged little stems (accompanying literature said ‘this is normal’)

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In a few days, they looked even worse. This is one of the better looking specimens

But then, overnight, stems standing up and new leaves a purply brown colour.  They live!

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These pictures don’t look like anything. It looks like two pictures of a pile of straw!

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Whoa!  This new build is on a low swinging branch of the apple tree.  Only a few feet off the ground.  But these wasps know what they’re doing.  There will be no commute at all to the windfall apple feasting that will come soon.

And this is a chicken path.  I’ve started to notice chicken ley lines where they move through the veg in single file.  Often they use our paths, but they also make their own trails.

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