It’s rare when I take a three day weekend but I felt like I deserved this one after finishing a major project at work and helping my boss finish one of her major projects I was happy to have an excuse to take a three day weekend. The plan was to buy 10 stone fruit trees since they were half price at the nursery and paint the bathroom. We bought the trees and Scott is still working on digging the holes for them only 2 more to go! I’m so glad I don’t do the digging 🙂
The weekend deviated from my plan when Scott snuck a peak under the straw where the sweet potatoes were planted. Last spring I planted 20 pounds of potatoes. 10 pounds we planted in make shift bushel baskets. They were actually made out of wire about 3 feet tall and we lined it with straw and put a small amount of compost on the bottom. We planted the potatoes and covered them with more compost. The idea was that as the potatoes grew we would continue to cover the plant and more potatoes would continue to grow up the plant.
We made 6 baskets like this. 3 with red potatoes and 3 with white potatoes. For awhile it worked in a couple of the baskets. Then we got married and the heat of summer hit with only hoses running to an acre of field. And that was the end of the story of those potatoes.
So for the other 10 pounds we watched a video where a guy spread cardboard then compost then planted seed potatoes and covered it all very heavily with straw and watered very heavily. He never had to water again and 6-8 months later he had bushels and bushels of potatoes. Well it looked great in the video but we really didn’t take in to account that he was in England and planted in the fall. We live in a desert and planted in the spring with no real water system to get us through the heat of summer.
As I watched all of my potatoes die around me I had one last desperate attempt for a potato. I had sprouted a sweet potato over winter and tried to transfer just the sprouts but they died (are you noticing a theme) so in my desperate attempt I just put an entire sweet potato under the straw where the cardboard mess was and tried to remember to water it daily. Which usually equated to twice weekly. But thankfully Scott bought these water timers so I could just toss the hose on the pile of straw and set the timer and not think about it again! After a couple of weeks we had a lot of green growth coming out of this patch of cardboard and straw. The leaves seemed to be very tolerant of my lame watering patterns when they got droopy from lack of water I would give them water and they would perk right back up. Before I knew it the leaves had sprawled probably about 10 feet in all directions. I read in a book that wherever the leaves touch soil they would put down roots. But when I looked under the leaves I didn’t see any setting roots so I really started to doubt anything was actually growing underground. I just thought I had a lot of great greens for the animals.
A couple of weeks ago when the weather cooled I quit watering the potatoes and have been clipping several vines each day for the animals but I’ve refused to dig up any potatoes. I didn’t want to know that I had completely failed at growing any potatoes. Saturday morning Scott decided to peak under the straw and then pulled us out to show us what he had found.
Some how I managed to grow some potatoes!!! Ok I know they aren’t really potatoes but I am happy to have them!!! And not just some but 42 pounds of sweet potatoes!