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Planting Potatoes


I would be the first to tell you that I am not a gardener. A dairy farmer, yes. But a gardener? No. Mom was always the gardener in the family.

Still, the second year after I bought my own home, I got the itch. I had Dad plow up a small section of lawn behind the house. Then I set to with gusto: In one day I planted my first rows of tomatoes, carrots, beans, and flowers.

Lastly, I got rid of the potatoes that had been sitting in the refrigerator crisper. They’d been in there so long that their long white vines snaked out the bottom of the door whenever I opened it too fast. Some of these stems were two feet long!

I carefully took all the potatoes out to the garden. Then I cut out the eyes—with a good section of potato each—and planted them in the rich dirt, staking up each stem. I had plenty of stakes and baler twine to tie the stems up.

Just as I was finishing up, Mom came over to inspect my garden.

“What are all those stakes for?” she asked.

I proudly showed off my great potato-stem staking job.

“Those aren’t stems. They’re runners. They need to buried!” Oops.

So, painstakingly, I replanted all my potatoes, with their runners underground. The good news is that they grew very well. In the fall, I enjoyed my first batch of homegrown potatoes.

Once I dug them out of the ground.

What’s your worst gardening mistake? Send it to GREENPRINTS, Broken Trowel Award, P.O. Box 1355, Fairview, NC 28730. If we print it, you’ll get a free one-year subscription and our GREENPRINTS Companion CD!

This article was published originally in 2015, in GreenPrints Issue #101.


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