potato love

What says "I love you" better than a potato? It's been a potato-themed week around here. First a potato-stamp Valentine's Day card project with the kids and then planting five varieties of potatoes in the yard. Not the russets shown above (those were for art, not eating) but German Butterball, Banana Fingerling, Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn and Colorado Rose. I clearly prefer the yellow, buttery type of potato but I threw one red skin in for variety (how risque!) I get all my seed potatoes from Ronnigers who have a great variety (organic and conventional).

Now I just hope our belated (but welcome) rains are not going to cause too much water build-up in the soil and rot them all. It was actually pouring while I was planting yesterday but I stuck it out (it actually was pretty enjoyable–peaceful + good smells) because I wanted to get the potatoes in at the start of the waning moon and didn't want to wait until next month.

I've always gardened organically but have never followed any kind of lunar or astronomical planting calendar before. I guess some part of me always tuned out this kind of wisdom because it seemed to have a slight aura of quackery about it. But given that the moon's gravitational pull controls the tides (not to mention my moods!) it really doesn't seem so far-fetched that it would also affect germination, soil moisture etc. And of course there is the long, long history of traditional cultures (from the Egyptians to the Mayans) following this logic.

In sorting through the various theories about using moon phases and astrology for gardening, one of the basic concepts I learned was that annual plants that grow above the ground should be planted in the first or second quarter moon near to the full moon, and root crops  should be planted shortly after the full moon. Since the full moon was just a few days ago, I wanted to try this theory out.

Of course I have no control standard to test against and therefore no way of measuring whether this will be any more successful than planting at another time but I always like to learn new things and try  new approaches. It's about the process, not the outcome!

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