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K-Dog Strikes Gold: (Yukon Gold Potatoes)

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 22, 2016

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Saturday is my day for yard and garden work. My garden now fallow, will be improved with soil amendments and a rabbit fence will be added to augment next years carrot yield.  Next year I'll be ready at the start of the growing season.  The first two years I got a late start getting the ground ready.  The first year because it was a new garden but this year because I doubled its size and sifted rocks out of the soil so it could be easily worked.  That took a few weekends.  With a rabbit fence not only carrots but my yield on other veggies will also go up. Thumper was busy in 2015. There are plenty of wild veggies for rabbits in the neighborhood; still I would share my bounty but rabbits don't wait for plants to grow and eat new shoots to the ground. Not a good thing, nothing gets started.

Here is a pic of what my garden looked like early last season.  The shape catches a good amount of sun even though a Douglas fir tree I planted many years ago towers over it.  The fir tree has been limbed more than twenty feet up and only blocks some early morning light.  Not seen out of the picture our house defines the angle of the front edge of the raised garden bed.  I chose the angle so the house does not block any sunlight.

garden_1

Just to the right of this picture is my potato box.  This Saturday I disassembled the box months after my potato plants had died. To my surprise there were potatoes in the soil I removed from it. All my potato plants had died in midsummer and I had thought my crop had been a total loss.

Starting out the summer my potatoes had shown promise. Here is my potato box early into my 2015 grow.  You can see my garden next to it and the trunk of my Douglas fir.

garden_3

Potatoes had been planted at ground level and a layer of boards now hold soil which has buried the growing plants in the above picture. When the plants had grown enough to be buried the first time a layer of boards seven and a half inches wide had been added to uprights and then the assembly had been dropped over the potato plants and filled with soil. Here is a picture of me to give you an Idea of how big the box is.  The boards holding back the soil are two feet long.

garden_2 

The view below is of the box showing a second row of boards added with plants buried another five and a half inches.

pic_zero

I added a third layer of boards and this view of the top shows the potato plants buried for the last time.

garden_4

Before I could add another layer of boards one plant had mysterious and suddenly wilted. I removed it above ground level but within a week all the other plants had also wilted and died just as the first had. I had read about the Irish potato famine last year and knew that all the potatoes in the famine had turned to a stinky black mush.

I figure my potato crop had been a loss.  It had been so early in the season I had not expected any potatoes to have even started to grow! I was wrong and before the potato plants had died potatoes had grown.

garden_5

K-Dogs 2015 potato crop

My personal potato famine had stopped growth above but not below ground. It had not been of the Irish kind as there was no black mush. For months healthy potatoes had been waiting for me to find them and I had not known it. 🙂

The soil I had used to bury my potatoes in had been some bagged garden soil I had bought on clearance.  It was cheap but it may have carried a fungus.  The first year I had used compost I had made and cured myself without problems.  I am going to gently pressure wash the potato box lumber and place the wood where it will dry until next spring.  I'll repaint the box then since I have plenty of the same paint I originally used when I made it.  I'll use different soil next year and I don't think any contamination on my box will survive being painted over.  This was the second year I used my box since I built it and its first year of use I had a lot more potatoes and the plants had lived well into fall until frost had killed them.  The year before I had grown Russet potatoes.  Perhaps the change in variety had something to do with this years early death of my plants.

Regardless of how it happend the potatoes are delicious.  I have made French fries and I have had them mashed.  Today I had some with a roast that baked in a crock pot all day.  It was fantastic.

garden_6

This picture of my dogs dream dinner is a bit out of focus.  I took it with my phone.  The potatoes I cut open with a knife and I've added a little butter.  The yellow color is the natural color of Yukon Gold Potatoes.

You can tell I have not yet gone vegan.

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