Garden – Potato 101

I spent the morning writing our ranch’s centennial story.  They publish a book full of stories from each year’s Wyoming’s Centennial Farms and Ranches.  Though our centennial was last year, they are just now collecting stories.  For those of you who missed our party, you might investigate some entries from July of last year… I had many centennial posts!  Although it wasn’t long… I had to keep checking the facts… was it William or George?, 1890, or 1891?, how many kids?

I’m behind on all my correspondence, so if any of you are reading this… I’m getting there!  Hang on, I’m slow, but I’m getting things done!
This afternoon I figured I’d better throw my potatoes in the ground before this next storm hits.  The other day I managed to plant carrots, lettuce and radishes.  It was overcast and breezy today, but unlike yesterday, the breeze wasn’t FREEZING cold.
I decided I’d try Gardening 101 with you… since most of my pictures from yesterday were YUCKY… I needed to try something new.  Expand my horizons.  Whatever.  I always start off well with my garden… but by July when things are hectic, it usually get buried in weeds… but every year I vow to do better.
It looks good now though!
Let’s start… Potatoes 101
I plant two varieties… white…
and Yukon Gold.

Just in case you didn’t know, we’re going for the eyes here.  That’s what makes a new plant.

I’m not going into preparation of your garden, rototilling, etc.  Here’s my lettuce and carrots from the other day…
My parents have always been great gardeners… their yard and garden one of their pride and joys.  Me, uh.  Well, like I said, my intentions are good… and I have the ability and knowledge… but… things happen.
Along the way, they taught me to build up my seed beds like this.
The reasoning… raised seedbeds warm faster, loosen the soil for the roots better, and are easier to walk among…  You flatten the top of the row with a garden rake.
I then figure out my spacing, by placing my potatoes before I plant them.  I usually put them about 6 inches apart, and I concentrate them in double rows, trying to utilize my space well…
Since I just cut them apart, I’m laying them upside down, trying to dry out the wet side.  The little dry breeze was helping!
My white potatoes are laid out.  Notice that they form 4 rows… so they can pollinate each other better… instead of one long row.
I then laid out my Yukons.  See, I’m short on the right row.  I can adjust my spacing and fill the entire row.  That’s why I lay them out first.
I then will take my rake handle and force holes in the dirt next to each potato.
Make sure your potato is dry on the bottom… if it’s not, your potato might not have enough “food” to grow out of, as the dirt will suck out the moisture.  If it has a dry skin on it, go ahead, turn it over, eye up, and put it in the hole about 3 inches.  If it doesn’t, like mine, go work in the yard for a bit, and come back later!
That’s it… shove it down 3 – 4 inches and cover it.  There is a storm coming and I’ll let the moisture from it work its magic.  Plus, I don’t have water available until I get the pump in the creek, so this garden gets watered by Mother Nature for a while!

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