This post may not seem the most timely, but we just harvested our potatoes so… it is in a sense (and now I know it actually worked!) When we moved to our current house, we were really excited at all the fruit and vegetables that the old owners had grown here (both in the ground and in raised garden boxes.)
While I knew I wanted to do a bit of gardening with Baby E, I’ve never actually been a gardener at all, and I’ve never even been especially great at keeping potted plants alive. If you’re in the same boat but also see the value of teaching children how to grow — some — of their own food, your first crop should maybe be potatoes.
We have all kinds of fruit growing at our house and were lucky enough to harvest it all Summer, but the only food item I actually planted this year were the potatoes and I’m thrilled with the yield… minimal effort and I got about 40 lbs!
When you plant your potatoes is entirely dependent on the climate where you live, but a good rule of thumb apparently is about 4 weeks before the last frost. That being said, I didn’t even know that rule when I planted mine so I just waited until it was “definitely Spring” which was sometime mid-April in Washington, and then I let a bag of organic potatoes sprout in the pantry… and we planted them right into the soil (I’d guess I planted a dozen potatoes). 5 months later and I have a TON of potatoes currently “curing” (which really just means sitting in a dark closet in the garage so that the skin can toughen up and they’ll last longer).
Yes you can start with potato plants but I had read that the easiest way was to plant whole potatoes that actually already sprouted and… that method clearly works. Enzo got to help put them in the soil then cover them up. We watered them regularly especially in the hot Summer heat but I wasn’t too worried if I missed a day or two. And once the plants above ground started really dying down, I didn’t water at all anymore.
Truth be told, we probably could have dug them up sooner (and I assure you, the digging was the really fun part for E), and we may have even had to toss less potatoes if I had done that, but either way, the easy nature of growing a root vegetable means I’ll absolutely dedicate a garden box to them every single year.
Mid Summer some potatoes did begin unearthing themselves so I had to go get some organic compost to add on top of the plants and make sure everything was properly covered, but if that’s all you have to do to get around 40 lbs of potatoes, I’m more than okay with that!
So if any part of you wants to grow something you can actually eat, but you either never have or historically haven’t been the best plant parent, I highly recommend starting with an easy veggie like potatoes!