Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Dig Potatoes..

When planting potatoes, you first have to get your moere! This is the Afrikaanse word for seed potato and is usually used as an insult, especially amongst the South African drunken fraternity, or very cross and angry South Africans!
You then put these "moere" in a black bag and place in a warm spot for about two to three weeks, in which time they will have sprouted some roots. They are then ready to plant. I also interplanted my potatoes with aubergines, as this is a good companion plant and I must say, this works like a bomb.

Plant them in holes about a hands width in depth, below the level of the soil. I also put comfrey leaves in the bottom of the holes (the holes must be about 60 cm apart), with a layer of soil above. I also dust my "moere" in ash and then cover with soil and water well. After about three weeks you will see a bit of life peeking above the soil. When your plant reaches about 15 to 20cm above the ground, you mound up the soil around the plant to about the 10 cm mark and as it grows, you keep on doing this until it starts to flower. I actually only did this "mounding-up" of soil twice and then waited... and watered... and watered!
 Once they flower, you then wait until the flowers start to wilt and the plant looks like it is in dire need of water. In my experience, this also the time to stop watering them (this is only my second potato crop, so maybe I am wrong) and wait for the plant to die off, then carefully dig them up, bearing in mind that all the potatoes stick close to the stem of the plant.  Our potato bed was about 7m long and 90cm wide and gave us 3 of the above boxes, full of potatoes. The aubergines are still growing in this bed and I am about to plant spinach with them as well. Once you have eaten your own home grown potatoes. you will be loathe to eat market potatoes again.
My next door neighbour, a farmer, Tienie Kritzinger, reckons that my veggie garden looks like the Garden of Eden, as everything is interplanted and weeds that get pulled out, I toss back into the bed as a mulch. But I love it, as once things start to grow and bear fruit, you have to walk around and search between the folliage for goodies! When you do come across some edibles, its a surprise and an adventure. Sometimes, I wish that for a moment, that I could shrink to just about 30cm tall and go clambering through our veggie garden, sniff my earthy smelling beetroots, give a ripe tomatoe a fat hug and sit under the shade of a pumpkin leaf and contemplate, maybe even have a well deserved snooze......


Dani said...

Be careful what you wish for LOL

Your potatoes look yummy - and love the idea of interplanting with aubergine.

What a feast you must have had for dinner :-)

Helen said...

Wow, I'll definitely suggest interplanting them, as we grow potatoes and aubergines already but separately. unfortunately plants don't like me so I tend to leave the gardening to the experts!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a somewhat distant relation of Raes. I used to babysit her when I was about 14, or something! I am her mom's cousin. I am enjoying your blog and find it quite amusing. You see, we live behind the boerewors curtain in what some people would call 'larneyland'.
But we grow great tomatoes, spinach and herbs. And I and my son-in-law vie with each other to see who can cook the best meal. So nice to catch up with you guys. Dee was a very much loved cousin and I am delighted to have caught up with Rae...if she can even remember me!

Anonymous said...

the thought of hugging a tomatoe made my heart smile :) i'd love to do that!

Lily said...

I love you idea of interplanting. We live in a big city, my veggies space is small. It will be my 2nd year to grow veggies. Your tips are much help! thanks!