Don't Make it Difficult.... | How to Grow Potatoes in Your Backyard
Some things are inherently difficult.
Working through marital fights is difficult.
Learning to say you're sorry is difficult.
Teaching your little boy child not to pee in the courtyard of his Lutheran preschool courtyard on the statue of the Virgin Mary -- difficult.
Planting potatoes? Not so difficult.
Don't waste time fretting over a plant like potatoes. They have a few basic needs, but are otherwise tough as nails. Last year, I put a bunch of potato parts (trimmed from the potatoes we were eating for dinner) in my vegetable bed. I forgot about them and layered my veggie bed with plastic Target bags, mulch and newly planted vegetables. Like a good weed, the potatoes surprised me by pushing aside the bags...and the mulch...and the other veggies. They flourished and I got to eat potatoes. (Want to see the experiment? Click HERE!)
What do Root Crops Really NEED?
1. They need rich, somewhat loose soil. Any type of root crop really needs room to move and grow in the soil. If you don't have loose soil, buy cheap potting soil, a bag of builder's sand (not sandbox sand) and mix the two with your leftover eggshells and coffee grounds. Plant potatoes in piles of the mix or in a pot and watch the magic happen.
2. They need sun. Some plants grow well in shade -- potatoes are not one of them. They will reach towards the light and get spindly. Your harvest won't be great. Give them a little sun and they'll give you a lot of potatoes.
3. Water. If you live in an area with decent rainfall, they should do just fine on their own. If you live in a desert, they'll need a little extra water.
I planted my potato parts in my veggie beds which are in the sun and have decent soil. We get rain here in PA, so I didn't water once. I literally forgot about these plants until they were adults and producing food. That is the way much of my garden works. Plant it and forget it. Then rejoice when it produces. The losers that never grow? I don't buy them again.
DON'T MAKE IT DIFFICULT. This goes for potatoes, chives, onions, asparagus, peony and bulbs like tulips, daffodils, dahlias and glads. Any plant that is concentrated on growing a root or bulb are easy to grow, but easy to drown. Get the plant in decent soil and spend the bulk of your time figuring out the best place for your plant to grow based on sun needs. Then LEAVE it ALONE! Overwatering will kill these plants quicker than anything. Overfertilizing will make them grow too spindly. Overpruning will put too much effort into leaves when you want the effort to go into the roots. LEAVE THEM ALONE.
DON'T MAKE IT DIFFICULT if it doesn't have to be.
Lesson of the day -- learn it
Lesson of my life...still learning...