Planting Potatoes

I am a month later than I would like to be, but our potatoes have officially been planted for the year.  It feels good to have another garden chore checked off the list.

Potatoes are one of my favorite things to plant because they’re so easy.  We don’t even actually put them in the ground.  We lay them on top of the ground and cover them with mulch or straw or composted manure.  To keep the rain from washing the mulch away and the dogs from digging the spuds up, we plant as many potatoes as we can inside old tires.  This method has been a relatively simple solution to the problem of clay-like soil that prevents us from easily planting potatoes the old-fashioned way.  (Yes, I know we’ll probably die from the chemicals leaching out of the tires into the potatoes.  It will taste better than dying from Big Macs and Funyons.)

I must confess that I had a lot of help with the planting.  My three kids were there with shovels and wheelbarrow on standby.  Two preschoolers we know and love were ready to help with trowels and fistfuls of dandelions.  A neighbor rode up on his lawnmower and put all of the tires on his property at our disposal.  Oh, and the puppies.  Our two 10-week-old puppies provided lots of moral support and comedy relief.  And exercise.

If the seed potato people are right, I can expect approximately 150 pounds of tasty potatoes from the six pounds of seed potatoes I planted.  Wouldn’t that beautiful?!  There’s not a single potato dish I couldn’t try with that kind of harvest!  It’ll probably be three months before the plants die back enough for a complete harvest, but I confess that I occasionally begin sneaking out new potatoes as soon as I see flowers forming.  There’s just something magical about gently feeling around in the mulch for enough small taters to roast for our supper before carefully tucking and patting everything back in as I prepare to head up to the house with potatoes in my apron pockets.

That’s garden glory right there.

I’ll be busy enough over the next few weeks with all of the other tilling, planting, weeding and watering that time will fly by.  Soon enough, there should be potatoes on the menu.




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