Dig deep, don't dig deep, trench, don't trench, raised bed, no raised bed, slope, no slope. Dirt? Straw? Oh my goodness! It was all just a bit much.
So, I reached for my copy of Country Wisdom and Know-How, that had sat by my bed for months, and turned to the "Growing Potatoes" section. What was recommended here seemed pretty straight-forward. Turn the garden soil deeply. Do not compact it by walking on it. Determine your rows and place a seed potato evenly spaced across the entire bed. Cover with 18" of straw, water and wait. Okay, done.
I did not hold much hope for this little potato bed of mine, as my thumb has been a rather pallid shade of green the past few years.
My son, our two intrepid missionaries (who never fail to offer their assistance for any service project) and I had dug deeply, turning the hard clay and adding amendments such as peat moss, organic garden soil and cow manure. The result was a lovely, soft mixture of soil the color of the burned sugar on the bottom of my oven. (But that's another story.) The rest was up to Mother Nature to help my little potatoes to pull through.
Well, pull she did! Take a peek for yourself. See those lovely deep green plants poking through the straw? Those are potato plants!! I squealed with delight when I saw them. Because where there are plants, there will be potatoes.
Is that not a beautiful sight to behold? The tops have now been covered with a new layer of straw, so that sunlight does not get down and turn the forming potatoes green. That is probably the hardest part of growing them this way, trying to keep the potatoes in the dark.
I don't think there is anything mroe satisfying than placing a seed (or seed potato) in the ground and having it grow and produce food for your family. It is an absolute miracle.
The remainder of our garden is doing as well as the potato patch. By the end of summer, I hope to have been able to feed my family, share vegetables with my parents, along with some elderly members of our church and put some up for the winter.
That's a lot to expect from a small plot of land but I have faith that it will come through. Just like those little potato plants poking through the straw.