Sunday, August 29, 2010
My nana used to grow potatoes. She had a rambling big block in the outer suburbs and I remember as a kid visiting her and getting a tour of the garden. It was a bit of a scrubby mess from what I recall but I know she'd potter around for hours and she loved it. I remember her digging up some potatoes one day and showing me how she grew them. I was only a kid but I thought she said she just chucked her potato peel in the ground under a fruit tree and potatoes would appear - but that can't be right can it? Must have been potatoes not peel!
Anyway, I tend to go in for a bit of research before I try something new and then get confused when I'm told contradictory things. And growing potatoes does seem to be a tad tricky. But I printed off some instructions (can't trust my memory with something new), propped them under a brick and made a start. Finding an appropriate bit of chicken wire took a bit of time. (Will Monkey Man need this wire? I'm too lazy to cut this big bit - is this bit big enough?). Can't be tyres (even though we have a couple hanging around) toxic chemicals might leech out. Found a good enough bit of chicken wire and made a cylinder. Put down a thick, damp layer of newspapers and popped the potatoes on top. Best to buy seed potatoes - better results, less likely disease. Followed this with straw, (not hay, hay has seeds apparently). Now, then I was supposed to pop on some compost - but I never have compost when I need it - why when we've got two compost bins and a worm farm?! Although I did have a bag of mushroom compost which I used and then some more manure. And topped it all off with another thick layer of straw. Once they were all buried and done I went back inside and had another look at a few sites and realised I probably planted too many too close for the small space I had.
I'd forgotten about them for a couple of weeks. Once or twice watered them - wondering all the while am I supposed to be watering - mightn't they rot? (Since discovered that they do indeed like to be watered.) And surprise and excitement ... foilage! It's working. Now I seem to remember something about not letting them see the light and piling up more straw. Makes sense - why else do I have this big empty cylinder. But when do I start piling? How much of this leaf do I cover? Sigh. Anyway, if anyone has the answers... advice please!