Winter and rainy day jobs

The glorious spud. We grow a lot of potatoes here, this season we’ve harvested over 200 kilos so far and still have a few in the ground. Spuds are a great  staple food to grow at home because they are easy to grow, highly productive and take minimal processing work compared with grains and legumes.  We started digging the first potatoes in late summer and continued digging through the fall. We decided to to leave one patch in the ground in a well drained garden bed which is what is pictured. This particular bed was not planted with potatoes it just had self sown potatoes come up between the pumpkin plants that were there and we decided to let them be and mulch and water them. Though we did have some rotten ones from leaving them in the ground so many months, the biggest setback was green potatoes. Potatoes go green when exposed to sunlight. Having been left so long, the mulch mostly decomposed and the tops of a lot of the potatoes turned green. We will still use most of them, the outer green portions of some will need to be cut off though. We still have over 100 Kilos of potatoes stored, hopefully to last us until next season. We store them in brown Hessian sacks. They were stored in the workshop with an extra layer of bags over them to keep out any light but we just moved them into the cellar, where  it is completely dark. They are hanging from a metal rod placed between the wood floor joists of the house giving them good airflow.

Chipping is a good rainy day job as it can be done under cover of the barn. We produce a lot of prunings too big to readily break down and too small for firewood. The nitrogen fixing inter-plantings, hedges and windbreaks that need frequent cutting make exceptionally good mulch and compost to feed back to trees, berries and vines. Because of the dry fire ecology climate here, woody material tends to dry out rather than decompose when left on its own and become scattered fuel. Chipping this material is part of reducing fire hazard on the property as well as the ecological roll wood chips provide as a mulch and fertiliser.

Winter is a good time to get around to all those maintenance items that never get done in the business of summer. Earlier this week I gave a little attention to the garden tools. All the wood handled tools got cleaned, splinters and rough bits sanded off and a coat of linseed oil applied.

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