Usually on a Wednesday I do a general post about everything growing in the garden, but I’ve decided to change tact. Firstly because not all that much changes in 7 days and also because my posts tend to be long and waffly. Instead I’m going to hone in on just one (or maybe two) things that I’m finding interesting, challenging or rewarding in the last week.
The first of these is my potatoes. To fill you in on my experience with this most loved of vegetables so far. Initially, though I wanted to have a go at growing spuds I didn’t get myself organised enough to get some seed potatoes so decided to leave it until next year. Then as it would happen I was gifted a few spare ones from a friend (4 to be exact). I left these on the bench in a paper bag while I got lunch for Miss Two, planning to plant them out that afternoon. With my back turned Miss Two retrieved them from the bag and pull ALL the shoots off (they were already shooting well and really needed to be plonked in the ground). I was somewhat annoyed, but that’s life with a toddler. I did shove them in with a little prayer of good luck that afternoon, but without much hope of them coming through.
And for three weeks nothing happened. I inspected daily… and nothing.
Then on the weekend I was watering the Three Sisters circle and popping in a few extra seedlings when I noticed an odd looking plant, not like any of the weeks that normally come up. I thought with excitement that finally one of the potatoes had shown some true grit and determination and survived the trauma of the attentions from Miss Two. Woohoo potatoes were growing, success. I went over for a closer look – they really are an unusual looking plant especially when they’re just coming through the ground – and noticed another and then another. The next day the fourth one was through – not just success, but 100% success. So I thought, time to build that cage so I could build the soil up around the plants. I found 4 garden stakes – well three but I broke on in half in my desperation – and wrapped some wire around it, ta da, a cage. Mr Good was not all that impressed and is dying to get his hands on it over the weekend and improve on my prototype, we’ll see! I added some more compost so that only the leaves are showing and will continue to do this as they grow.
What I find most interesting is that it seems several plants appear from the one potato. It’s not at all as I expected – which is exactly what I love about growing something for the first time, you never quite know what path it will take. The packet suggested that from each seed potato you could get up to ten tubers. I hope that’s right because we really do love the humble spud in this house and with Baby Good now starting on solid food, I’m sure mashed potato will be a regular feature on the menu.
So far from my research, I know potatoes like quite a lot of water, but don’t really mind too much about soil conditions. I know to hill them up as they grow. But that’s about it. Do they like a drink of liquid fertiliser every so often? Are there any pests I should be on the look out for? Are there any tried and true tricks to growing potatoes. And most importantly, when do I get to harvest them? Advice from wise and experienced gardeners wanted.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been quite so excited about growing something as this, I just can’t wait to see what happens next. But I promise not too devote too much blog time to my latest obsession, I’m sure I’m the only one so completely fascinated with a potato. Next week I will focus on something else – there is plenty to choose from at the moment.