Yet another potato experiment, some new growth, and a little bee update

Ok, friends, I've now planted potatoes in towers, hilling with dirt (good results!) and in rows, hilling with hay (also good results!). Now it's time to try potatoes in containers.

I found some 10 gallon containers on Amazon that are meant to be used for hydroponics, but they'll suit this purpose just fine. I ordered five kinds of potatoes from Peaceful Valley Organic Farm Supply in Felton (a couple of hours south of here), a pound each of:  Red Desiree, Yukon Gold, Kennebec White, Nicola, and Canela Russet. I put a layer of soil (I had leftover from our delivery a few months ago) on the bottom of each pot, then layered in the potatoes, then covered them with another layer of dirt. The pots are between the chicken coop and some tomatoes and peppers (I'm starting to figure out ways of using every available space for planting). After the potatoes sprout and begin to grow, I'll add more dirt - this time, compost directly from the bin, not entirely finished and certainly not screened. We'll see how this method works. I'm determined to figure out the best way to grow potatoes in our yard. 

Three of the five pots. I need some more markers, but meanwhile these pencil and recycled valentine markers will do just fine.

Three of the five pots. I need some more markers, but meanwhile these pencil and recycled valentine markers will do just fine.

The temperature is going up, we're in for a few warm days, so things will begin to pop. I noticed lots of activity in the garden tonight.

One of the hop bines has reached the top, and is now growing sideways (with a little instruction)

One of the hop bines has reached the top, and is now growing sideways (with a little instruction)

mini-peppers!

mini-peppers!

The first planting of corn is sprouting!

The first planting of corn is sprouting!

The first seeding of cilantro is ready for eating

The first seeding of cilantro is ready for eating

pole bean sprouts

pole bean sprouts

baby collards

baby collards

This is our weekly haul of asparagus. Sigh. We never get more than a few at a time.

This is our weekly haul of asparagus. Sigh. We never get more than a few at a time.

Looks like the garlic is making cloves, now - it won't be long till harvest. This is Ichieum Red softneck.

Looks like the garlic is making cloves, now - it won't be long till harvest. This is Ichieum Red softneck.

The tomatoes are all doing well, flowering like crazy

The tomatoes are all doing well, flowering like crazy

These apples are about golf ball size

These apples are about golf ball size

I opened the hive very briefly just to see if the bees need more bars, as activity at the entrance of the hive has increased quite a bit. This photo is from the back of the hive, and as you can see, they still have quite a bit of room left, so I did not need to add new bars. However, the amount of bees in the hive has really increased since even a month ago, so the queen is now laying a stupendous amount of eggs every day. There is lots of new comb being built, and the bees don't build unless they need it, so they are anticipating more stores of honey and pollen, and possibly more brood. The way bees build comb is quite remarkable. Just secreting wax is a miracle. Here's a nice explanation from an author called Harun Yahya:

"Beeswax is the main building material in the comb. Bees secrete wax from four pairs of glands under their abdomens. Where these glands meet, there are two small apertures. Here the wax is secreted, in small, thin scales. To collect this wax, bees use the hooks made of the small hairs on their hindlegs. They then push the wax forward to their middle legs, then to their forelegs. (Bees have six legs.) Finally, they pick the wax up in their mouths and make it malleable by chewing it. As soon as one scale of wax is removed, another immediately emerges behind it... The process of wax production necessitates substantial quantities of energy. Bees consume approximately 22 kilograms (48.5 pounds) of honey in order to make 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of beeswax. Bees take beads of wax from their secretion glands in a size no larger than the head of a pin. This makes it clearer why beeswax is so valuable."

I just find honeybees so marvelous. 

A couple more pictures of some interesting things:

a ladybug on a buddleia bud

a ladybug on a buddleia bud

forget-me-not

forget-me-not

a native I can't remember

a native I can't remember

the throat of a nasturtium

the throat of a nasturtium

This little plant is a star in the garden - it's called 'bee plant' and is in the mugwort family. It spreads freely, and though the honeybees don't visit this flower often, native bees LOVE it. As you can see, this plant is spreading next to the compost bins, which will improve the look of them tremendously.

This little plant is a star in the garden - it's called 'bee plant' and is in the mugwort family. It spreads freely, and though the honeybees don't visit this flower often, native bees LOVE it. As you can see, this plant is spreading next to the compost bins, which will improve the look of them tremendously.

I'll let you know how the potato experiment goes! Have any of you grown potatoes in containers? If so, how did it go?