It All Comes Down to the Meat and Potatoes: Part 1

| 6/9/2014 11:23:00 AM

Amanda StoffelsPotatoes have been something I wanted to experiment with growing for quite sometime. As I would find old potatoes in the pantry with eyes growing on them, I would find myself thinking where could I plant them. Timing and space have always been a challenge so I was never able to act on the itch to grow them until this year.

With the expansion of the garden to the back, I took it upon myself to take the summer and fall to make compost from the chicken coop. As the months went on, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to fill the garden box to the top with my own compost by spring, but I wasn't going to haul more dirt to the back until it got a lot warmer. After reading about building a potato box, I felt a half-filled raised bed was the next best thing.

One January day as I was making mashed potatoes, I discovered a jewel at the bottom of the bag! I immediately cut it up into chunks and headed out to the raised bed in the back. The puppies were right behind me trying to figure out what I was up to. I shooed them away and got to planting. I only had four so I felt I could fit them in a corner of the square-foot garden. I headed back in with a sense of pride. 

A day later I came back out like a little school child to check the plant and to my dismay the dogs had dug it up! I searched all around but to no avail. The dog(s) had eaten my potato! The challenge has begun!  

I bought planting potatoes at the local feed store and put them in a dark place so that they were good and ready to plant. On March 1, I was so excited to have a beautiful day so I locked the dogs up and planted all my awesome onions and potatoes. It was a success! A few weeks later I consulted the Farmers Almanac, and begun planting more plants. Things were going great! 

About this same time, I bought some broiler hens so that we could have a great homegrown meal of meat and potatoes. As the birds were growing so were the pine shavings and poop pile. I was very proud of my naive idea to use the shavings with straight chicken poop as mulch for the raised bed in the back yard where my dogs run free. I watered the plants knowing I was fertilizing the plants and helping conserve water while I did it!