Today I planted seed potatoes in white, yellow, red, and purple. I have had a good rain and am hopeful I won’t have any serious cold weather in the next three weeks. I expect more rain this week, so it is time.
Most of the time I make potato towers to get maximum potatoes in the least room, however I really want a lot of beans and tomatoes this year and plan to use my scrap wood for trellises.
So I tossed my seed potatoes on top of the damp ground and composted hay over the top. I will keep adding compost until I get plenty of potatoes. This is a good way of getting potatoes without digging. One problem with traditional digging and hilling is that when you harvest, you accidentally leave seed potatoes behind. Growing on top on a bit of hay and under more hay doesn’t have that problem. It allows for prettier potatoes too.
Potatoes are great for bulk calories, they are versatile and nutritious.
Solanine can be a downside with potatoes, and most know not to eat green potatoes that are loaded with solanine. If it tastes bitter, toss it out. What many people don’t realize is that solanine is the potato plant’s pest protection system and is why it is such a good plant for those of us who live with wild critters raiding our gardens. Critters around here will not eat potatoes. So save your protected space for tender morsels and plant potatoes on the periphery.
Potatoes also put solanine in the soil, and few other plants can grow after them, so many get discouraged about dealing with that, especially in a smaller garden. Potato towers are perfect for keeping solanine in a confined area as well as having more production per square foot. Still, you have to deal with solanine in the soil. The traditional rotation after potatoes are legumes, and after legumes you can plant your other vegetables.
My plan is to feed myself this year from my food forest and potager. Not likely to get as much fruit from young trees as I’d like, but every year gets more productive. Last year I had food from my garden every day during the season, this year my new raised beds will provide food to preserve as well.
I create my own food security in a world full of GMOs, just in time food delivery across thousands of miles, drought, floods, famine, endocrine disrupters, and toxins of every sort.
It is good to rotate crops at the least because they deplete the soil. Second, you are less likely to get pest or disease outbreaks. I tend to make mixed plantings, tuck in beans and peas seeds everywhere, and compost, and mulch. Potatoes are one plant I don’t mix with others, and follow a strict legume rotation behind them.
My lovely garden is on its way! Let’s see what the weather and wildlife have in store for me this year. Potato Famine aside, I expect plenty of potatoes of every color this year.