Last week we planted about 45lbs of potatoes in the Grocery Row Gardens.
We have another 50lbs of Yukon Golds that need planting, hopefully this week. Those will be planted in a dedicated potato area.
One of the things I love about Grocery Row Gardening is that it’s a big patchwork space where you can fit bits and pieces into the gaps. At this time of year, there are a lot of gaps!
Potatoes are the first crop we plant since they like cooler weather and don’t die easily during frosts.
In order to plant potatoes, we first cut up our seed potatoes, leaving at least an eye or two on each piece. Then we let them sit out for a day or so to dry a little bit.
Then we pull back the mulch in the Grocery Row Gardens and dig a roughly 5″ deep hole for each piece.
We plant them in the soil:
And we leave the mulch pulled back so they can sprout up through the soil.
In that picture you can see the potato “pockets” in the mulch, alongside the trunk of a dormant mulberry tree.
There are all kinds of things sleeping in the rows right now, from dormant gingers to sugarcane cuttings. We just plant around them as best as we can. Yes, we hit occasional roots and do some damage, but it’s nothing catastrophic. After a few hard freezes, a lot of things have died down to their roots and disappeared. Some of them will no doubt be competing with potatoes when they come back in a couple of months, but that’s okay. It’s rather like a crowded forest edge. We don’t need everything to produce at 100%. Our overall yields will be good, even if some plants aren’t as happy as they would be when isolated. And the additional benefit of less pest pressure due to planting in a polyculture also helps yields.
Finally, potatoes give you a quick yield when planted in the midst of your long-term perennial crops. We’ll probably get about 200-250lbs of potatoes from this planting. Other crops that work well in the Grocery Row Gardens to give you large yields in a short period include turnips, daikons, sweet potatoes, watermelons and cucumbers. They can easily fit into the gaps between perennials and provide a substantial weight yield.
You can see us planting potatoes and how this all works in the Grocery Row Gardening from Scratch presentation we filmed over a few months last spring.
There you can see some friends and I putting in a brand-new Grocery Row Garden and getting yields in a very short period of time.
I need to go back this spring and film an update – it’s really done beautifully.
Have a great week and Happy Monday.