Surely, dear readers, by now you know how much POD loves to play the identify that bug/disease game (please refer to the summer of 2010).

tiny, but destructiveThis time, though, who knows? There are a lot of caterpillars out there. This one seems to be particularly fond of Swiss chard. POD’s thinking Virginian Tiger Moth — because days after this photo was snapped a much larger, yellower, fuzzier caterpillar got inspected, discussed upon, and then stomped upon by POD’s partner in crime (and we’re pretty sure we’ve seen the actual moths buzzing about) — but alternative identification suggestions welcomed!



This little volunteer came up out front, oh, about a month plus ago. Or, at least, that’s when it got noticed. A couple weeks later, it found itself being uprooted and transported to the little blue deck. Given the bugs and yellowing leaves the Celebrities are fighting as this is typed, we’re hoping for  the best.

And we’re hoping the volunteer’s a prolific Gold Nugget, but we’ll take what we get.

Popped Potatoes

french fingerling potatoesJust a few weeks ago, the French fingerlings emerged. Finally. It’s amazing what three weeks, a little Bennett Compost, and some natural rain can do.

Plants on Deck enjoyed some much-needed attention on Friday  and these potatoes were first up on the to-do list. As they had shot up from no inches to eight inches in just 14 days, it was time for the first application of additional dirt.

A layer of compost and potting soil was gently hilled around the potatoes, covering 2/3 of the exposed plant, leaving just a few inches exposed.  And wouldn’t you know it? Just four days later and they need (make that “desperately need”) another hilling.

french fingerling potatoes

Which means the stroller’s going to be doubling as a wheelbarrow tonight.

Note to future self: the deeper the container, the better!french fingerling potatoes


POD’s generally a big fan of growing its own. And usually that extends to seedlings, but things are different this year. And, one suspects, things are going to be different for the next 18 years or so. So, with that in mind, POD purchased three nice, hearty tomato seedlings a few weeks ago.

made in michigan
made in michigan

Evidently, Gurney’s decided that it was time to plant, even though the pages of this blog indicate that we’re running more than a month early. These Celebrity seedlings arrived on Wednesday, and after a few days acclimating to daylight after their darkened journey, they’re finding a new home this afternoon. Much like their new minder, these starlets were made in Michigan, my friends.

celebrity seedlings
celebrity seedlings



radish seedlingsWell, it seems the results of our March 4 planting are mixed. Several (but not all) radishes sprouted in the window boxes and all the peas popped, but the lettuce and chard were both busts.

Since that planting, though, we suffered a freeze, which probably didn’t help. And to be fair, the dirt’s tired and the seeds are 3-6 years old. Maybe it’s time to clean out the seed stock and start anew? Then again, maybe it’s just time to try again, one month later…


seed potatoesThese ginormous French fingerling seed potatoes could have very easily been cut into smaller segments. But that would require 2-3 days “healing” time. Which would require some advance planning. Which, alas, the good folks at POD no longer really do. When it comes to gardening, at least.

potato pot

But hey! Potatoes! Something that’s never before been tackled here at Plants On Deck — as they don’t play well with tomatoes, they’ve never been planted. But the tomatoes are moving to the front of the house this year (where sunlight is more direct and water is more readily available), so potatoes are the new tomato.

These babies were plopped on top of about four inches of dirt, six inches apart, and topped with another three inches of soil. The 18 gallon container (drilled well on both the bottom and sides to promote drainage) is home to five seed potatoes — which is, perhaps, a little tight, but we’re planning on harvesting a majority as new potatoes,  anyway.

Happily, the heavens opened soon after the spuds were planted. The tricky part’s going to be keeping the soil consistently moist (not too wet nor too dry) until harvest.

In a few weeks, once the plants reach a towering height of six or eight inches, they’ll be “hilled” (that is, some more dirt and compost will be gently mounded around them, leaving about two-thirds of the plant exposed). This hilling process will be repeated until the plants reach to top of the bin. After the plants have bloomed, POD’s sending in the little fingers to find the wee fingerlings.

Grow Great Grub promises the whole enterprise will take 45-60 days…