- Posted April 25, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From garden to table
Making a mountain (of potatoes) out of a molehill (of space)
At times I find myself getting upset over things, that in hindsight, weren't really that big of a deal. That's why I love gardening. My mother would say 'you're making a mountain out of a molehill'. However, the garden is one place where that's ok. In fact, that's the whole point of gardening - starting with something very small, and making something much larger. Well this year, I'm to try to grow a mountain of potatoes using just a molehill of space. Or at least that's my plan.
To accomplish this, I started by purchasing seed potatoes from my local garden store. I decided on a location that would get at least 6 hours of direct sun. Lastly, I found the garbage can that was required to grow this mountain. Yes, that's right. I said I'd need a garbage can. That's the secret to growing my mountain of potatoes. Instead of growing the potatoes in several mounds (which takes up valuable land), the tubers multiply by growing on the ever growing stem that's created using this method. To accomplish this soil is added every time the stem gets at least 6 inches tall. It forces the stem to grow taller, creating more tubers along the way.
So I proceeded to add some drainage holes in the bottom of the can However, I found it to be a tricky task. I tried to punch a hole using a hammer and nail, but to no avail. Next I tried using a screw. That worked, but at the pace I was going it would take me an hour before I had enough holes. So I decided to stop at 4 holes. Then I cut a 3x3 square out of the bottom. Ok, that's done. Onto digging a hole.
Next I dug a hole that was large enough to accommodate the diameter of the can. I dug down about 4 to 5 inches and placed the can in hole. (I did this for stability purposes.) To add more drainage, I added about a gallon of small stones in the bottom of the can, and then some some shredded paper on top of those.
Then I added the soil on top of the paper and placed potato pieces in four equidistant areas of the can. Each potato piece had a few ample sprouts which would grow into a plant. Next, I added about six inches of soil on top of my potato pieces. So that I didn't need to worry about fertilizer, I made sure that the soil I added included some nice wriggly worms. The best fertilizer Mother Nature provides is in those worms - as worm castings. Yup, my potatoes will be fertilized with worm poo. Sounds gross, but it works. But hey, it's back to basics and they didn't cost a thing. Lastly, I gave the little spuds a proper watering. Phew!
Hopefully all the hard work will come out as planned. Then I may just invite my mom to dinner. I'll show her that it's ok to make a mountain out of a mole hill - well at least it's ok if you do it in the garden.