When the gardening season is over at end of the fall, people get used to conclusions and make some decisions. Some things were successful and some were not. Some affected by the weather and some did not grow by our mistake.
If we see the garden’s “report back” honestly and without prejudice, it turns out we can give up a lot of what we planted on the plot. I’m not going to agitate or call for a reconsideration of the range of plants they have in the garden and let everyone decide for themselves.
But here are my thoughts on why I decided to give up growing potatoes. I’ll tell you about it.
First, let’s ask ourselves – why do we grow potatoes in our gardens year after year? Often, the answer boils down to this: We want our own guaranteed organic, natural product, and most importantly – deliciousness.
However, there is a part of the gardener that says: Our ancestors grew them, and we will grow them too. About the same principle guides me. If I have land, 30 acres, I should grow potatoes.
So I did, but without much success – planted two barrels, harvested three, and so on, year after year.
The potato proved to be unpretentious – a myth – and a lot of work and expense should go into getting really good yields.
I have identified at least five reasons why potatoes should not be grown.
The potato is an expensive crop in terms of both work and money
First of all, it is necessary to choose the right variety in order to get a good harvest. If you simply bury the tubers left in the cellar after the winter, the results will not be good.
You should plant only tubers from the most productive and healthy bushes each year, or buy elite material of good varieties with high yields and good taste.
Second, potatoes like very good soil. Therefore, plots allocated to potatoes should be improved by either importing particularly fertile soils or fertilizing them heavily with well-rotted manure or at least compost.
Such a plot should be prepared every year and dug out with a shovel, which is not easy.
As you know, the potatoes need to be watered regularly in times of drought, at least twice, in addition to weeding, during the growing process. The final chord, of course, is digging up the harvest.
In my opinion, potatoes are unmatched in terms of labor input in the usual vegetable cultivation. And the money you spend on buying good planting materials is worth considering.
Potato beds take up a lot of space
In fact, for a good harvest, it is advisable to plant potatoes in a new place every year. But after all, potatoes cannot be sown after many other crops (tomatoes, eggplants).
Therefore, if you decide to plant potatoes, you should have a reserve of land that is not occupied by perennials, just as you would reserve land for the “future”.
Well, if you have a lot of land, but if you only have 6 acres, do you want to have a fruit garden and ornamental plants in addition to your “tasty and healthy” potatoes?
And for potatoes, it is necessary to take a completely open sunny spot. By choosing them instead of potatoes, you “cut out” other crops. Much has been said about the effort, time, and monetary cost of creating a new bed each year.
By the way, about “delicious and healthy”
The potato is a crop that often needs to be protected from disease and pests.
Many people have seen and know the damage caused by the Colorado potato beetle, which can completely eat all the leaves and leave bare branches in the potato bush.
It can be fought by “ecological” methods – handpicking and destruction twice a day. However, this method is not very efficient. If you miss the moment – you can forget about harvesting, there will be no harvest of plants without leaves.
And for phylloxera, scab, rot. That’s why we must use harmless preparations and use them regularly. Of course, there are harmless folk recipes, but in my opinion, they are also harmless to disease-causing organisms.
What is our result? Not at all an ecologically pure crop, plus the capital cost of preparation, plus the labor cost of processing.
It is worth considering and applying mineral fertilizers. After all, not everyone can bring a truckload of hummus or black soil to dig under the bed, so they use light (weight and convenience-wise) mineral fertilizers.
Potatoes need to be stored properly
If you don’t store potatoes under optimal conditions, half of your harvest will rot away over the winter. In addition, when storing potatoes, it is necessary to check them carefully for diseases, as a single diseased tuber can kill the entire crop.
Low market prices for potatoes
On the Internet, you can see many calculations and reasons why your potatoes are much more expensive (about 5 times more!) than the ones you buy in the store or at the market.
Why? Because when industrial farming is done, machines are used for planting and harvesting, chemicals and fertilizers are not purchased at retail prices, and the whole process is controlled by experts experienced in maximizing yields and minimizing costs.
So, as I examine and browse this year’s crop, I ask myself the following questions:
- am I an expert in intensive, efficient potato growing?
- and is my product so harmless and healthy?
- and isn’t it cheaper to buy my favorite tubers in a store or market and choose from a variety of varieties?
- and are my potatoes worth the physical effort I put into them?
- and shouldn’t I grow roses or grapes in this area?
For me, the answer is obvious enough. This is my last year growing potatoes.
By the way, potatoes themselves are a source of pollution for other favorite vegetable crops. Did you notice that when the potatoes were dug up, all the Colorado potato beetles moved to the eggplants?
And tomatoes and peppers are at greater risk of phylloxera if the same potatoes are nearby.
Again, each person will draw conclusions and make decisions for themselves. This article is just one reason to think without bias about what we really need in a plot, not what we don’t.
Perhaps some of you have questions about other vegetables, which takes unreasonable effort, time, and money.
All that being said. Have a good harvest.