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Rattle Some Cages

Rattling cages is probably not what your boss and co-workers want you to do at work, but it’s not a bad thing to do in the garden to facilitate tomato pollination.  Tomatoes are self-pollinators, in that they have both male and female reproductive organs.  Usually, the wind and bumblebees help spread their pollen, but occasionally the humidity may be too high and the pollen will stick.  Just a little shake of the tomato cage can help dislodge the pollen.  It doesn’t need to measure on the Reichter scale, just a nice jostle.  It’s easy to do and hopefully will increase your tomato production.

SWEET POTATO UPDATE

Here is a picture of the sweet potatoes.  Remember how  pathetic the plants looked when I planted them a few weeks ago?  They snapped out of it and are doing well.  Now, if I can just keep the moles from cutting their roots…

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Planting Sweet Potatoes

I planted some sweet potato plants yesterday that I had ordered from Shumway’s.  I’m a newbie at planting sweet potatoes.  I tried last year, but the rabbits or groundhogs mowed them down before they had much of a chance to grow…hence the newly fortified fence around the garden.

Planting sweet potatoes is much different than planting ordinary potatoes.  They come as plants rather than seeds or sets.  The plants look a bit rugged, and the leaves can be smelly and slimy.  Just hold your nose as you plant them.

    • Make a ridge about 8-12 inches high.  The height gives the potato room to grow.
    • Make a pilot hole in the ridge with a stick or peg.
    • Insert the plant root into the hole.
    • Pour some water in the plant hole and firm up the soil around the plant.
    • Place plants 10-18 inches apart.
    • If you’re planting more than one row or ridge, keep them about 3 feet apart. These plants will spread.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed and the garden gate shut in hopes that the sweet potatoes will be a success this year.