Ed. note: Thanks to Camera editorial page editor Erika Stutzman for this guest post!
I’m an accidental organic potato farmer, and you can be too. Even if your only outdoor space is a balcony. Even if, like me, you happen to be a rather inexperienced, ineffective home gardener plagued by pests. Sure, I had a lot of hot peppers and a few tomatoes and herbs, but what I really had was a bumper crop of pests, including earwigs, slugs and a tenacious 11-year-old Bichon Frise with a taste for organic kale and corn. Want to know how a small white dog could pull ears off a 4-foot corn stalk? So do I.
But we harvested this week, just ahead of the frost, and to my surprise: My otherwise mediocre home garden yielded nearly 40 pounds of perfect potatoes. Surprisingly large, with picture-perfect roundness and smooth skin, and creamy interiors that taste amazing even without cream or butter.
The secret is inexpensive “potato bins,” great seed and the tenets of potato farming: Not too much fuss, no daily watering, and letting the stalks wither and die before harvest. Wither and die? I can do that! I did that to my entire garden all summer long! Read more