A. ‘Gardening by the Moon’ is still alive today, but on a limited basis. It’s being rediscovered by a new generation of gardeners who are using an old school approach to gardening. They’re into organic cultural practices; such as composting, compost teas, cultivating for weed control, organic disease and pest controls, etc. The moon dictates what and when to do almost all fundamental gardening activities. The influence of the moon and its different phases is twofold. One, the pull of the lunar gravity along with the increasing and decreasing light of the moon affects plant roots and leaves. Second, gardening activities, when to weed, what to plant, etc., is determined by which of the Zodiac signs the moon is traveling through. From a scientific standpoint, the ‘Gardening by the Moon’ methodology hasn’t been proven or disapproves, so you’ll find supporters and those that think otherwise. That being said I do publish a weekly ‘ToDo’ based on the moon at www.dirtgardener.com. Personally, I’m not a strict follower of the activities. Concerning planning potatoes by the moon, this is not the weekend to plant. Your best and only opportunity is month is March 9-14 under the sign of Scorpio, Libra and Sagittarius and just before the beginning of the four-quarter on March 14, which is a resting period. Potatoes are one of the easiest short-term crops for a home vegetable garden and are great to involve kids with. They can be planted in traditional raised beds and containers. Some of the more unorthodox planters include spare tires, a bed of straw or a bag of commercial potting soil or planting mix. Besides the usual amendments and fertilizer, it’s recommended to add Sulfate of Potash for the extra Potassium. Seed potatoes are recommended to plant over those found at the supermarket. The yield from the supermarket purchased potatoes is unpredictable, as they have been treated with a growth inhibitor to limit the new shoots. That is not the case with seed potatoes so you get a guaranteed yield. You should cut the potatoes in half or quarters depending on the size. The freshly cut ends should be dipped into Soil Sulfur to prevent rotting and let to air dry for twenty-four hours. Your favorite garden center now has red, white and the large russet seed potatoes available for planting. Last year and again this year, I used the Gardman Potato Tubs grew them on my deck all summer long. They’re the perfect compliment to an Earthbox for home grown vegetables in containers on decks, patios and balconies. I planted around the first of February and harvested fifteen pounds of potatoes in August. You can follow their progress on my facebook page, facebook/Buzz Bertolero.
Buzz Bertolero is Executive Vice President of Navlet’s Garden Centers and a California Certified Nursery Professional. His web address is www.dirtgardener.com and you can send questions by email at email@example.com or to 360 Civic Drive Ste. ‘D’, Pleasant Hill, Calif. 94523 and on Facebook at Facebook.com/BuzzBertolero