Monday, March 20, 2017

A potato home companion

Three blocks short of a full wall
So anyway, when the lovely and gracious Rogue bought me a second deck for my birthday last year, its placement created an unwieldy area that managed to collect weeds, rideable plastic toys, and chunks of dead rabbit over the course of last summer. What better place to grow potatoes? But I've decided that it's not going to be an ordinary potato bed; it's going to be a companion-planting extravaganza.

Just for fun, this bed's going to get just about every companion that promises to help potatoes: thyme (already planted, though you can hardly see them in the picture), onions, garlic, marigolds, even clover.  I already have two beds each of onions and garlic, so if these produce anything, that's just a bonus.  And I'm wondering if (or hoping that, actually) adding clover once the potatoes come up will smother out the other weeds*.  As you can see, this might be a rather difficult bed to keep weeded without having to climb into it. Unwieldy it began, unwieldy it remains.

The only companion I haven't decided on is horseradish. Horseradish is a great companion, as it allegedly helps increase the disease resistance of potatoes**. But horseradish is forever, so if I add it here, here it will remain until the end of the age. It already grows in a number of places outside its original bed, like all the other beds that have previously held potatoes.

On the other hand, even should I never be able to rid myself of it, there are worse problems than having food growing all over the place. Like having chunks of dead rabbit rotting all over the place.

UPDATE: I gave in and did two rows of horseradish, one inside, one outside the upper wall.  Plus, since DiggingDog™ decided that the center of the bed would be a capital place to dig a nice hole to lie in, I've stuck about a dozen tomato cages all over the bed.  It doesn't look as nice now. But nice isn't really what we're shooting for, is it?

* Also, since the bed is not flat, I hope a thick cover of clover will control any erosion issues that arise.
** I cannot testify that this is true, only that my potatoes have not had any disease issues in the past.


  1. Tried horseradish twice. Never came up at all.

    1. That's like rhubarb for me. In Minnesota the stuff could grow anywhere. I've tried three times here and killed it every time.

      Don't tell anyone, I'm currently trying it again on a pot on the deck...

  2. Too warm there for rhubarb? I tried it for a while in a subtropical garden, and it survived as long as I sprayed it every week or two. Aphids killed it as soon as I got tired of that.
    Horseradish should grow great here. I am only 30 miles from the national epicenter of horseradish production. I suspect Farm & Fleet sold me dead roots.

    1. Too warm there for rhubarb?

      I suspect that's the ultimate problem, though I have not been able to grow it even in the cooler weather. I've concluded that it's fatally allergic to Kansas.