Showcase 2: Potato Plot

The new fence.

This is my most ambitiously sized garden at the moment. It started small. Don’t they always? The owner has limited time in her life, but has wanted a garden for some time now. It was going to be a four-by-four or maybe four-by-eight plot fenced away from her dog. Then we started talking compost. She had already discovered that compost and the dog don’t mix well, so it had to go behind the fence, too. By that point, well, why not just fence off a whole end of the yard? Fortunately, the dog is older and not inclined to argue with a fence, so we were able to go with a fairly inexpensive setup. It mostly just had to delineate where she was allowed and where she wasn’t allowed.

We had lots of room to play with, so along with a four-by-eight plot for regular vegetables and marking out a three-pile compost area, we had room for a four-by-six-foot potato bed. I believe I need to scatter flower seeds in the remaining area before we decide to add any more to the first-year garden. We had considered renting a rototiller, considering the amount of ground we needed to cover. However, when it came down to it, I’ll be turning one bed at a time, so there’s no real reason not to do it by hand. The first bed to get in was the potato bed. They need to be planted almost as

Three compost piles, as soon as I put the rock pile to use.

soon as the ground is workable. That is about mid-April around here. Given how warm it has already been, I didn’t want to hesitate on getting them started so that they can be established before the summer heat gets serious.

I haven’t gotten the soil sample off to be tested just yet, but I strongly suspect that this soil has a much higher clay content and more organic material than Showcase 1. It looked like the previous owners of the house were gardeners, so the soil had been somewhat amended in the past. More recently, it had been the playground of several dogs and was otherwise undisturbed. With the organic material and the lack of human intervention, I was very

Some of those rocks are plotting out the future garden beds.

pleased to see lots of different kinds of decomposers already at home in the area. The ants were not my favorites to come across, and I need to do some more research to see whether they are beneficial or potentially harmful, but seeing healthy communities of animals at all was a good start. I only came across two earth worms, but I’m hoping that’s just because my disturbing of the area scared them off rather than because there are only two. Of course, one of them was enormous, so it might count for two or three when it comes to volume of materials handled.

I double-dug this plot, like we did with Showcase 1. I used my shovel to loosen the lower

About half dug over.

level and mix in some fairly well decomposed horse manure I happened to have on hand. I really need to get a garden fork before I turn the other plot, but it worked well enough. It took about two hours to get it all turned, but I expect it will take less time in the future as I get more fit. After that, I measured it into four quarters for the four types of potatoes  and planted each in a quadrant. One of the neighbors came out to see what I was up to and let me know that they hadn’t had any luck with potatoes due to the heavier soil. Hopefully the double-digging helped, but my fingers are crossed anyway. I think the center of the plot was a solid 10 inches higher than it had been before I dug over the area. With any luck, I put in enough air-spaces for the potatoes to have enough room to grow. I am also considering hilling them up with straw instead of dirt, since I don’t have much dirt to spare in the bed, and it will give them more air-space for growth.

Plotted, planted, and watered. Pretty, isn't it?

My next step with this garden will be to dig over and start planting the other vegetable bed. I’ll be getting to that as soon as I get a chance. This is a rather ambitious undertaking, but I’ll be moving into the house soon, so it will become my baby more than the other gardens, which are really me helping others create their babies. Hooray for a yard to play in!

One response to this post.

  1. […] was also a little softer. I ran into a few different things with this plot than I did with the potato bed. The potatoes, by the way, are doing great. Every one of them has at least broken through the […]


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