From the Farm: Spring Renewal and Seasonal Crops
All of our spring crops are well on their way and looking very healthy this year. We have also started transplanting out some of our seasonal crops for summer, such as tomatoes and squash as well.
Did you know potatoes are the most highly grown crop in the United States? In the picture below you can see our Irish potato plants that have emerged from the soil. We planted at a good time this year and were able to get a strong stand. If you get too much rainfall shortly after planting your seed potatoes, then oftentimes the potato chits will rot in the soil before sprouting.
It is usually best to plant potatoes on raised beds to help drainage. This is especially true if you live in areas where soils contain more clay as these typically hold water much longer than more sandy or loamy soils.
If you want to increase the yields of your potato plantings then “hilling” is a good practice. You simply mound dirt up around the stalks of the plant as they grow vertically out of the soil. You will want to leave 4-6 inches of the stalk out of the ground at all times so that it continues to take in proper levels of sunlight.
The blueberries that we planted about a year and a half ago are really coming along nicely. We planted these in the fall of 2014 and I pruned off all of the buds during the first productive cycle in the spring of 2015 to encourage vegetative growth. The plants are now full of buds and blooms and will not require any pruning for the next year or two.
Blueberries require an acidic soil pH around 4-5 on the pH scale. To get your soil pH this low, amendments are usually required. Peat moss is a good source of acidity and can be applied upon initial planting or scuffled in around the plants periodically. Elemental sulfur is also a good amendment for lowering your soil pH. A nice mulch like pine nuggets or pine straw will also aid in keeping your soil pH at a good level.
Blueberries require little in terms of fertilizer and oftentimes a nice rich compost can provide all of the nutrition your plants need. Cross pollination is required for some blueberry varieties and is recommended for most all blueberries.
When purchasing blueberry cuttings or plants it is recommended to get at least two different varieties that bloom around the same time. If you want to extend your harvest season then it is important to select varieties that bloom at different times throughout the season.
That’s all for this month. I hope everyone has a wonderful April and gets lots of dirt under their fingernails in the coming weeks!