Potato Trenches

Like last year, we’ve decided to continue with the expanded planting of potatoes. That extra bed allows us to have enough to enjoy almost throughout the whole winter — until we have to stop eating them to have enough left to plant in the spring. Last year our purple potatoes didn’t do very well, so we had to order seed potatoes for those. The red and white potatoes, though, lasted really well in storage, and we got them in the ground nice and early (in fact, the leaves just popped up this weekend). The reds and whites are planted in the big box hilling system we used successfully last year.

When the blue potatoes arrived in the mail, Kirk dug up the last spindly, pathetic cranberries and prepped the bed for potatoes instead. This was no easy task, as the bed was filled with tree roots from the nearby evergreen:


Kirk was not happy about the prep work, but I’m optimistic that potatoes should do okay despite some leftover root issues. They were often a first crop planted by pioneers to break prairie sod, so a few straggly tree roots shouldn’t be too difficult.

Instead of building a new box to hold in extra mounds of dirt, Kirk planted the blue potatoes in short trenches instead:


The idea here is that you plant the potatoes way down deep in the trench. Then as they grow, you take some of the extra, mounded soil to keep hilling them up. Eventually the tall piles or soil will be on top of the potatoes instead of in the spaces between the rows.

We’ll see how well it works in the fall when we dig up the potatoes. Hopefully we’ll have a good, tall stack of them, because the blue ones are my favorites.

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