|Red Pontiacs and Yukon Golds.|
The other day, I was outside very early planting some potatoes. It's a little late, date-wise, but weather-wise is another thing. It's almost mid-May, but the weather seems decidedly April-ish. Lots of rain, and cooler temperatures. But every plant I see is forging ahead, despite the weather. Most of the garden is planted, aside from the warm weather plants, like tomatoes, cucumbers, and squashes.
I'm new to the potato game. I always thought why bother with potatoes? They are cheap, and I can get good local ones quite easily. But yes, once you grow your own, as with probably anything, you're likely to notice the difference. Last year a friend gave me a bunch of seed potatoes, and I carelessly threw them in a lousy spot and they flourished. This year I've done the same, thrown them in a lousy spot. Maybe with a touch more care. Potatoes were often the plant that farmers used to loosen up a new plot. It seems to work for me, so I'm doing it again.
|The new potato bed.|
(You may wonder how I can plant things without fencing with the unbelievable deer population we have in the Hudson Valley. I also have quite a few unfenced raised beds. Amazingly, the deer have left me alone (knock on wood). I ascribe it to being so close to the road, which is a steep and dangerous curve that they never seem to want to cross. A plus of the roadside garden. Another plus? I now know more of my neighbors than I would have!)
|Not for the faint of heart.|
|It will be all worthwhile in a few months.|
The nuts and bolts of planting the potatoes:
I bought Red Pontiac and Yukon Gold seed potatoes from my local garden/feed store. The seed potatoes sat in a basket inside by a warm window, so the eyes began to sprout. I then cut them, leaving an eye on each piece, and let them scar over--don't put them in the ground after cutting them. [Tip for next year: don't cut seed potatoes, instead buy small seed potatoes.] I dug a trench about a foot wide, and about six to eight inches deep. I covered them with about two inches of dirt--no compost--and as they grow I will hill them up. Potato flowers are beautiful, and a signifier of new potatoes to be harvested. In July, the potato plants will start to die, and underneath the soil you will find your gold. There's tons of information on planting potatoes on the internet. This is just a very basic overview, and also sort of a garden journal for me to see what I did this year. Let me know about your potatoes!