This is the second year we've grown potatoes in the Reno garden. After reading several stories on the sorry plight of the commercial potato, we decided to improve our health by organically growing some varieties. So, early this past spring, after hearing that the potatoes had arrived, we stopped by Dry Creek and picked up a couple bags of potato starts.
After talking to John Strickland about last year's harvest, he suggested that we plant the potatoes in trenches. Since they are nightshades, like tomatoes, you can bury the main stem deeper than intuition tells you, which helps grow more roots, and with the potatoes, helps grow more potatoes.
So, we dug trenches in the raised bed two feet or so apart, placed the potato starts at the bottom, covering them with a few inches of top soil. Once growing, as the stems emerged, we kept filling the trench, little by little until they were completely filled in to regular ground level. Since then the main stems have grown several feet. We added bamboo cane tripod supports to help the plants stand tall.
The flowers have been developing through June and should start to open in the next week or so. The greenery and the delicate white flowers make potatoes a nice ornamental feature for the garden, as well as a good producer of food for the table.
In the photo you might be able to pick out some collard leaves. The collards this year have been wonderful, too. There has been very little insect damage, and the leaves grew broad and tender and delicious. We've been sautéing them with turkey bacon and onions. Delicious!