I’ll bet that many of you have at least one unused portion of your yard, maybe a corner, fence-line, or border, that you could use for a mini-garden, or larger. Today I decided to utilize the northwest corner of my backyard fence to create a garden spot to plant potatoes.
We don’t have one big garden at the M.S.B. homestead, but instead we utilize many different smaller areas that blend in well with the rest of the yard. I’ve used the backyard corner before (we’ve grown onions back there, zucchini, and even pumpkins), and decided this year to dig it up good with my 4-cycle ‘cultivator’, which is really a mini-rototiller… any excuse to play with power tools…
After fighting a little with some bamboo roots which were creeping underneath the fence from the neighbors yard (bamboo spreads like crazy – be warned), I tilled a good 10 inches deep or thereabouts into a rich soil that is somewhat heavy with clay. I’ve appended the soil a bit over the years to soften it up.
Knowing that last year I successfully grew store-bought potatoes as opposed to specific ‘seed’ potatoes, I used part of a bag of old Russet potatoes that we had here. I let them get older in the bag that they came in, and after several weeks they were growing some nice green shoots.
All you have to do is cut / slice the potato such that you have at least one decent green shoot growing out. For the most part, it seemed that I was able to get two decent size chunks from each potato, each chunk with several shoots growing.
I dug several trenches with a hoe, about 6 inches deep, and placed the potato chunks in there with the green shoots facing up.
Then, only cover the potato pieces with about 2 inches of soil, while saving the rest of the trench mound for later.
Once the green shoots have grown through the soil and have reached a height of say, 6 inches, then cover up about 4 of the 6 inches of leaves with more of the dirt remaining from the trench mound. When you do this, more potatoes will grow from those covered branches.
Did you know that potatoes are one of the highest calorie vegetables that you can plant in your garden? From a survival garden point of view, potatoes are great. Since you will be harvesting more than you can eat, all you have to do is slice and dehydrate the excess for later! If you have a root cellar, that will prolong your harvest too.
Check out this article that I wrote regarding calories versus vegetable choices for your garden.
Well there you have it… I will update this post with pictures and progress as these potatoes mature.
By the way, companions for potatoes are bush bean, members of the cabbage family, carrot, celery, corn, dead nettle, flax, horseradish, marigold, peas, petunia, and onion.
Don’t plant these around potatoes: asparagus, cucumber, kohlrabi, parsnip, pumpkin, rutabaga, squash family, sunflower, turnip and fennel. Keep potatoes and tomatoes apart as they both can get early and late blight contaminating each other.
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