Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Planting potatoes for the first time

Growing up, in Colorado when I was a little girl. We had this massive front yard and this massive backyard. We had 2 flower bed areas near our front porch and a long flower bed in front of the big 5 or 6 foot privacy fence that separated the front yard from the back yard. But the front was primarily grass/lawn. And the same with the backyard, it was mostly lawn. The back yard we did have a strip for flower garden and our rhubarb on one side in the backyard. 3 car garage and then a massive square shaped vegetable garden near the peach tree and closer to the garage. Anyway, every Spring, my dad would plant his garden. He had a garden every year for pleasure. Watching something you grew from your care. And then getting to it eat. Every Spring though, my dad and I would go to the nursery and pick the plants that we'd grow for that year. I loved getting to help pick. The smell inside that massive nursery. I could smell soil and flowery smells and baby plants. My dad did all the hard work. He turned the soil over. He planted them, though sometimes I helped. but it was 99% all my dad. To be fair, I also helped weeding. : ) But my dad would water them sometimes with the big American style water sprinkler that moved back and forth (it also helped water our lawn and garden at the same time, hahaha. Or he'd use the smaller/medium area sprinkler, that could do just the garden and sometimes he'd water it by hand with the hand sprinkler.  And then later in Summer, when we needed something for our salad or for our side dish, I'd run out to the garden and pull it or take it off the plant. That to me was the best part! Then I'd bring it into the house and wash it up. Here in Japan. Our backyard is primarily grass and yard. And we have only a little strip for a garden. We did that on purpose. Because we wanted the yard mostly for sitting and lounging. However, We have been itching to start gardening. One year we grew zucchini and that was fantastic nothing went to waste. Another time we grew tomatoes. The problem though is it made more tomatoes then we could actually eat. We only use a handful a week and yet we were making handfuls by the day. So, many rotted before we could eat them. We tried freezing them. So sadly, we decided tomatoes were not a good match for our family. : ( Then we tried cucumber. I love cucumber. However again. I eat about 3-4 a week. For salads. But again we were growing about 5 a day, we cut those next day there's 3 big ones again, cut those next days there's 4 or 5 again. It was too much.  And finally last year we planted zucchini again but the typhoon wiped him out. @_@ So, back to the drawing board. This January when Noboru and I were on one of our lunch dates. We said, what should we plant? I said let's not plant anything we can't use 100%. I hate wasting. And although we gave many cucumbers and tomatoes away, after a while not even friends wanted them. : ( Even they were sick of them by the end of the Summer. : ) Okay, fair enough. So Noboru said, we go through potatoes a lot. I said, true! So we thought, we won't waste any. Then we vetoed cucumbers and tomatoes. we use them just not enough to grow them. Then we said, why not lettuce and why not zucchini. So, we decided on potatoes, zucchini and different varieties of lettuce this year. That's it. Of course it's too early for zucchini and lettuce right now. But not for the potatoes. All the DIY's around here have the potatoes out. It seems the right season for our area. So we bought a small bag of planting potatoes.
While my dad has grown 2 rows of potatoes all my childhood. I have never grown potatoes at all. Neither has Noboru. Thank goodness for great directions on the back of the bag. And also thank goodness for all the farmers also buying potatoes while we were because we picked their brains and asked them a ton of questions. One thing they all agreed is to use ash for the potatoes. @_@ I never heard of this. But they all chimed in and piped up. Apparently it protects against disease? @_@ Again, I'm new to all this. But since these farmers were all 60 plus years old and they seemed to know their stuff. Also Noboru read online and read so many potato posts in Japan by Japanese. And he also said they rec'd ash. Again, we have zero idea, but we used ashes too.  We also cut the potatoes like this drawing said to. And let it dry a bit. But not shrively wrinkly type dry though, lol.
Okay this is probably the least romantic thing to do on Valentine's day, so bare with me. : ) But, since Branden, Noah and myself were leaving Japan the next day. and given our potatoes were dry but we were worried they'd look mummified by the time we got back on Sunday. We had no choice but to plant them Valentine's day. : ) Where did we get the ash? The BBQ. Hahaha. : )
We cut it up like the picture, we spaced each hole the amount the back of the directions said to. And now we will just wait and hope for the best. I hope, they flourish and we end up with a nice size haul of potatoes. I worry that they won't grow, that they will get a disease or be stunted somehow and when we dig them up at the end of Summer or whatever, that nothing will have grown. That would be a big time bummer! Big time! : ) So, anyway, I will now keep you all updated. No, I won't make like weekly potato posts or anything, lol, but maybe just a little blurb once a month should be enough. I am crossing my fingers you guys! Man I hope we grow some nice potatoes this year. Do I think we'll end up with like 1000 potatoes? No of course not, but even if we grew 50 healthy potatoes that would still be sort of cool. Please potatoes grow, healthy and good and delicious. Hahaha. : )