Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Updates on some projects

First update: See post: Starting sweet potato slips. Total Failure! Mine in the potting soil grew lots of thin root hairs, but finally disintegrated without putting out any slips. In frustration, I ordered 25 slips of 'Georgia Jet' just to be sure I'd have some sweet potatoes to store for winter. I'm trying to use more sweet potatoes because the glycemic index and glycemic load for sweet potatoes is less than for white potatoes.(However, I am growing a few Yukon Gold's, too.)

The day after I started those 'taters in the potting soil, I also put one suspended by toothpicks in a jar of water on the windowsill the way my grandmother did. In 4 weeks' time, the one in a jar had put out thin root hairs but no emerging sprouts. I left it just because I was busy, and in another 2 weeks it actually began putting out some tiny sprouts! Finally after almost 2 months, the sprouts are nearly large enough to plant in the garden. (Photo at top of post.)

Meanwhile I have lost almost half the mail-order sweet potato plants in the ground. We had an exceptionally hot spell, and despite watering daily in the mornings, a few seemed to just dry up.  I'm afraid it won't be a big sweet potato harvest this year. Sigh.

I posted about Nanking Cherries recently. When they finally got 95% ripe, I picked about 2 quarts, leaving many for the birds. The very next day ALL the cherries were gone... even the discards on the ground! Guess I picked them just in time, but I really wonder how the birds knew exactly when they were ripe?

I haven't decided what to make with the berries I picked (and currently frozen)... maybe some cherry liquer? (Update: I did make the sour cherry liquer, posted here.)

Remember the Elderflower Champagne? I walked into the pantry a few days after putting ten corked bottles of it in there to brew, and got shot with a cork! Several bottles had blown their corks, so I transferred the contents to gallon jugs and added airlocks. It won't be as fizzy, so I don't know how I will like it.

I finally got the water pipes in the root cellar moved to hug the wall so I have enough space to put the old refrigerator (soon to become a cheese cave, stay tuned) in there. Turns out I'm still a decent plumber for a woman almost 71 years old!

Now I'm just waiting for the mortar to set around the frost-proof hose bibb (that runs through the 8" block wall to the outside) so I can turn on the water and test my connections. I know it doesn't look like much, but the pipes previously ran straight across the middle of the space and now they hug the wall, giving me some usable space!

I insulated the pipes with rubber insulation... not against freezing, but because the pipes sweat in summer from the spring water when I water my garden, and then the root cellar gets very damp and humid. (The window is nailed shut; probably hasn't been opened in 30 years or more, and I doubt it could even be opened anymore.)

That's an electric panel box sitting on top of the water tank. I need to take out the old electric box with screw-in glass fuses and put in the breaker box... one of these days!
Photo by arnold | inuyaki
Haricot Verts
The lovely ultra-skinny French bean I adore... (which I like a little skinnier than in the photo above). The seeds I bought as a pole variety have turned out to be a bush variety! I HATE it when seed packets do not contain what they advertise! (This was from a reputable heirloom seed company, too.) Nonetheless, they are very tasty! Even with the few plants I started, I've had several meals of them, and have a few individual portions frozen for winter. I just started more seeds today for a fall crop.


  1. Any chance the area where your beans are planted was overly wet?

  2. Bummer about the sweet potato slips!! We love sweet potatoes.. looove them.

  3. No, not too wet. I'm getting plenty of beans now but hate that they are not the pole beans. So much easier for me to pick pole beans!

    One row of sweet potatoes is finally vining nicely, and I have a few sprouts from storage SP's to plant in the voids in the other row.

    On the other hand, moles or voles have killed most of the Yukon Gold plants.

  4. put in my first sweet tater plants a few weeks back.

    I just wanted to use the rest of the prepared raised soil beds instead of leaving them unused and go to weed.

    Took a while for them to catch on but now are vining nicely.

    I read there are certain things to do for harvest and storage.

    This will be fun ( i hope )

    S in TP

  5. I believe harvesting and storing sweet potatoes is the same as for regular potatoes and winter squash, but I haven't checked for sure.

  6. No root cellar here in Tellico Plains so I will prolly give most of them away. Can you freeze them ?

  7. Your pantry looks very nice too. :)

  8. Scoots, have a crawl space? That would work, or in the bottom of a DARK, cool closet. Don't know if they can be frozen without cooking but I doubt it.

    tpals, Thanks! The pantry is very disorganized other than what shows in the photo. I need more shelving!!

  9. I bet dehydrated sweet potato slices would be GREAT!

    Sue - aka Leah's Mom

  10. They are... I did some last year. :)


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