Saturday, 25 July 2020

1 Potato 2 Potato and Hot Compost


Hot Compost

How many of you out there still do not have a composting system of some kind?
There’s no excuse, even if you only have a small balcony, everyone should be composting their kitchen scraps instead of it going to landfill.
  • You just need some space for your compost.
  • you could have compost bays, compost bins, or any structure that can hold up to 1 cubic metre of compost.
Compost bins at Margaret's House: Photo by Margaret Mossakowska
There’s so many systems out there to accommodate all kinds of limitations that you might have.
You can even make a compost heap without building or buying anything.
I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from
Let’s find what to do .

Vermin: put Rapid mesh under you bins if you have rodents invading your compost.
Alternatively, put food scraps into a worm farm, and use you compost bins just for green waste.
Worm farm that is smelly:
  • Too many food scraps will make the worm farm smelly and anaerobic. Mainly nitrogen rich.
The way to fix it is to add more carbon rich material such as shredded newspaper, coffee chaff or straw.
note: coffee chaff is free by-product of coffee roasting, that is husks of coffee beans. You just need to ask.
Compost Bins/Bays
  • To make a hot compost you need to assemble at least 1 cubic metre of material in one go.
  • Wait for it to heat up to 55-60 C, usually after 2-3 days, then you can turn it.
  • Use a compost thermometer so the compost doesn't get over 60 C. This temperature is enough to kill weed seeds and insect eggs.
  • Commercial compost is biologically dead because it is heated to  more than 70 C.
  • Ratios are important: 4 buckets of carbon rich material to 1 bucket of green clippings/food scraps.
  • Molasses can be added to compost to innoculate it, or use comfrey, nettles, nasturtium soaked in a bucket of water.
Margaret now runs workshops that you can attend without leaving your home because they’re via Zoom, that’s on your computer.
If you have any questions, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Which Potato Shall You Grow?

Potatoes are scientifically Solanum tuberosum
  • Did you know that Potatoes are a vegetable that is one of the most energy-giving foods there is, because of the starch and carbohydrates in them? Farmers in the Andes Mountains of South America first discovered the potato 7,000 years ago
Captain William Bligh planted potatoes on Bruny Island, Tasmania in 1792. In Australia they are now the largest vegetable crop.
  • Other than eating ,potatoes are used to brew vodka and Potato starch is used in the food industry as a thickener and binder for soups and sauces and, in the textile industry as an adhesive, and for the manufacturing of papers and boards.
The potato is a member of the nightshade or Solanaceae family and its leaves are poisonous.
TIP Here’s something to think about when storing your potatoes.
  • A potato left too long in the light will begin to turn green.The green skin contains a substance called solanine which can cause the potato to taste bitter and green potatoes can upset the stomach, so don’t try them.
How to grow potatoes
  • Always grow potatoes from Certified Seed Potatoes from reputable suppliers.
If you use leftovers or buy from supermarkets or green grocers, you might think it’s only a small risk, but once you get potato blight into your soil, it’s their forever. 
No chemical will shift it.

When to plant
Potatoes can be planted now all over Australia, in temperate and sub-tropical districts, August to October is the best time, in arid areas August until December is your best time,
Cranberry Red Potato
In cool temperate zones, September through to January is your best time so cooler areas have a bit of extra time to order some of the more unusual varieties before they grow in the ground.
Some Varieties You May Want to Consider
How about Cranberry Red?
Cranberry Red has red skin and red flesh, great in salads, for boiling and baking.  These stay red, even after cooking.
Or what about Potato Sapphire that has purple skin and purple flesh?
Royal Blue Potato
Purple Sapphire I’m sure is sold also as Purple Congo, is perfect for mashing, boiling and roasting, and yes, it stays purple after cooking.
Purple mash, Yum, and yes, I’ve cooked it.
And for a good all rounder, try growing Royal Blue.
Potato Royal Blue is oblong, with purple skin and dark yellow flesh.
If you’re buying through mail order or online, you have until the end of August to buy them. After that, they’re not available.
But What do they really need?
  • They need lots of sunshine because the soil needs to be warm for them to grow their very best.
  • They also need loose soil that isn’t too wet or too dry. If the ground is too wet, the potatoes will rot in the ground.
  • Potatoes plants are started from the buds or ‘eyes’ of an existing potato. You can cut the potato into pieces and plant them with the bud or ‘eye’ facing up.
To grow your Potatoes-
Chicken manure or blood and bone should be dug through the bed as potatoes need a lot of phosphorus but not too much nitrogen.  Too much nitrogen will mean lots of leaves rather than potatoes.
Put seedling potatoes into a trench in as deep and rich a soil as you can get.
Plenty of compost and manures please.
And as they grow pile the earth up around them.
  • You will need to hill the rows or potato container several times until the potatoes have flowered. You need to do this to stop the greening of tubers and also protect them from potato moth. Also, hilling up the soil and mulch will give you more potatoes as they tend to form on roots near the surface. That means, as you pile up the soil, you get new roots, and more potatoes....
  • Keep the water up and but only water moderately as potatoes will rot in soil that is too wet. They can also get a fungus growing inside them if the soil’s too wet.When you cut them open, they’ll have grey patches inside which actually do taste mouldy. Euwwww!
  • You can add fish emulsion and seaweed extract when you’re watering too.

How To Grow Potatoes in You Black Compost Bin.
Potatoes can also be grown in your black compost bin if you’re not using it for compost.

  • Plant the seed potatoes at the bottom, let them grow to about 50cm,( so with your ruler that’s  almost 2 x ruler heights) then, over the top and add 8cm of soil, let them grow a little more, add some more soil, and so on, in the end a stack of potatoes.
  • Pick your potatoes when the vine has died down to the ground, that’s if you want the most potatoes, but they can be harvested from when the first baby potatoes are formed. 
  • The lower leaves should be turning yellow – this happens about 3 to 4 weeks after flowering.
If you plan to store your potatoes, cut off the foliage and let the potatoes rest in the ground for 3-4 weeks to allow the skin to 'set', they keep longer this way. Store in a dark, cool, well ventilated spot.
Roasting Potatoes include: Arran, Royal Blue, Cara, Celine, Desiree, Maxine, Picasso, Ruby Lou, Romano, King Edward, Kondor, Maris Piper, Stemster and Valor.
For Chip Potatoes try: Nadine, Kestrel, King Edward, Desiree, Kennebec.
For Boiling Potatoes try: Nadine, Dutch Cream Kestrel, Desiree, King Edward.
For Mashing Potatoes try: Kestrel, Nadine, King Edward, Tasmanian Pinkeye.
For Salad Potatoes try: Nicola, Tasmanian Pinkeye, Ponfine.
Harvesting Potatoes When The Vine Has Died Down
For something different try: Sapphire, with purple flesh it looks great mashed and roasted.
Another method for growing potatoes is underneath straw.  This no dig method is easy and will still provide you with a great crop.  First, prepare the growing area with a layer of manure, dampening it, and then covering it with a thick layer of wet newspaper.  Ensure that each piece of newspaper overlaps the next to stop weeds from getting through.  Put the seed potatoes on the newspaper 50cm apart and cover with a layer of straw.  Add cow manure and blood and bone over the straw.  After this add more straw, and repeat until the straw is 40cm deep.  Water it in well.  Because straw is organic, it will decompose so you will need to add more straw as it does so to prevent sunlight from reaching the potatoes.
Why are potatoes good for you?
The potato is densely packed with nutrients.
A medium potato provides vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
Potatoes are known as the foods people crave when they are stressed. 
Why? because the carbs in potatoes (about 26%) help make space for tryptophan, this, in turn, boosts the serotonin level in the brain.
High serotonin levels help boost your mood and help you feel calm.
To preserve these nutrients it is important to peel the potato just prior to cooking and not leave

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