Monday, May 05, 2008

The first potato planted!

I bought seed potatoes which were full of sprouts already at the plantmall. Most of the customers had ignored them, but the other varieties were out and this one is slightly frost hardy, so I decided to take the chance. Most of the taters stands proudly in a window to grow better sprouts while they wait for the day they'll be planted. One, however, is already in soil. I can't do anything without adding at least one experiment, and this one sprouted (ahaha) balconypotatoes.

My neighbours subscribe to washingpowder in buckets, and were kind enough to give me one of the empty ones. The proportions compared to a normal bucket are slightly different - it's a bit taller. This means you can make a selfwatering container out of it with plenty of room for the water and still have big enough space for serious cultivation.

But why end the experiment there? Those disks of cocosfibre I bought at the latest faire have been searching for their purpose over the last weeks. (Yes, I know I bought them to use them as bedding in my vermicompost, but being able to change plans at the drop of a hat is a virtue.) I decided to sacrifice one of them.

According to the instructions I put the disk in lukewarm water for ten minutes. Everyone who's used peat pellets knows what's happening; you put a flat little disk into water and a tower of fluffy 'soil' raises to greet your seeds. I have to admit, though, that it's somewhat scary when the disk says "vooom!" and a thirty centimeter (one foot) tower erupts from the bucket.

The cocos fibres was enough for the layer under the potato, so what should I use for the top layer? I took a look at the bag with balcony soil. It was icecold, dripping wet and slimey since it's been left out for the entire winter. Unfortunately this was the only soil I could use. I decided to make this quality a part of the experiment. To bolster the chock I fluffed the soil thoroughly and refrained from watering. Usually I fill the water magazine this way, but I can do it some other day with this one.

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