A box full of taters

Potatoes are planted!

Potatoes are planted!

We had a productive Sunday on our backyard farm. This weekend I planted more spinach, green onion, arugula, swiss chard, romaine lettuce and carrots. I also planted the first of my beet plants.

Another project we completed was our potato box. My husband did most of the work on this one.

I found the inspiration for our potato box on Pinterest (follow me http://www.pinterest.com/amandamoore5). The idea is to build a small tower that you grow with the potatoes. We built our potato box with wood we had laying around the dry shed, so we didn’t follow the directions to a T (they specify 2×2 posts, the ones we used were a bit larger). Dave cut the boards into 21- and 24-inch lengths with the posts 33 inches in height. He then attached the four boards to the bottom of the box (for a visual see http://www.veggiegardener.com/how-to-build-potato-tower, I would post photos of our potato box, but I left my card reader at work, check back tomorrow for photos). We filled the box in with dirt (we used triple mix and sheep manure) and planted the mixed seed potatoes we ordered from West Coast Seeds (these are a mix of Sieglinde, Chieftan, Yukon Gold, and Russian Blue, I can’t for these to grow) along with the majority of our seeds for this year. I planted them whole, though I have also read you can cut them into smaller pieces with at least two eyes per piece. As the taters grow, we will add more boards and dirt until it reaches the top of the box. To harvest the potatoes, you remove the boards. Some bloggers have reported yields of 100 pounds in a 2×2 box. Only time will tell how successful we are at potato growing. Fingers crossed we will have plenty of spuds to last us next fall and winter.

What is your favourite potato dish?

Why you should grow your own potatoes (or buy from a local, organic farmer)

Potatoes found in the grocery store are sprayed with a concoction of chemicals — pesticides, anti-sprotuing agents, fungicides, herbicides. Potatoes, like most root vegetables, absorb these chemicals that wind up in the soil. Potatoes are twelfth on the Dirty Dozen list, a list of the 12 foods you should buy organic according to the Environmental Working Group. Be sure to buy these organic (or grow your own) apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, potatoes. Alternately, the “Clean 15” are onions, sweet corn (though a lot of corn is GMO, so be sure to watch for this), pineapples, avocado, cabbage, sweet peas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, kiwi, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, watermelon, mushrooms.

We are growing our own food because we are concerned about the food we are eating. Conventional products do not require labels warning consumers that they have been exposed to heavy doses of toxic chemicals, but organic farmers who want to label their products as such have to pay large amounts of money for certification. There is something backwards when a product has to be labelled for not having something in it, when products that could potentially harm our health require no such label. We will be able to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from our little homestead with the peace of mind that they are not genetically modified and have not been exposed to pesticides. It doesn’t get any fresher than the backyard.

potato box1