A Few Gardening Updates As We Have A Monsoon Season In Vermont !

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Small Potato Patch

We have a love and a preference for new, small potatoes!  I never plan on any being left in the fall for storage!  If I were to want potatoes to hold over the winter I would need a patch well separated from the house!  WELL SEPARATED!!!  We do not use that many potatoes but what it is easier to pick them up at our Coop than it is for me to exercise self control!

For most of my life I have followed Ruth Stout’s system for growing potatoes.


This year, we used a 4×4 frame that was on the ground, originally built for bat houses that are yet to be erected. So few bats now. Filled it with soil.


Placed three rows of seed potatoes –  red & white.


Even though Ruth Stout used hay, we use straw to lower the chance of weed & grass seeds. It is easier to deal with a few oats! As the potato plants grow, more straw is added between rows and around plants. Straw rather than traditional “hilling”  The beauty of this system is NO digging.  When the time comes to have those small, new potatoes for supper, I just move the straw back, pick up the potatoes I want right then and replace the straw.

I need to fence this off as the geese are too intrigued.  Right now it is covered with a temporary row cover to keep poultry from investigating while grow starts. Low fence will be set up this week so row cover can be removed.

The Other Small Update

Our indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are outgrowing their cages. We solved this by repurposing old tent frame pieces!  As you know, we sleep outside during nice weather and we use inexpensive tents that give us one year of living and one winter of covering the bed and chairs!

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3 Responses to A Few Gardening Updates As We Have A Monsoon Season In Vermont !

  1. Pam Ladds July 9, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    I have grown potatoes this way for many year. I do not lay them out in the nice neat rows though, laziness leads to an eclectic scatter. They grow well, no matter what. I use hay or straw, depending on what I can get my hands on easily. Hay was easier this year. I also grow garlic the same way – stick the cloves on the land late fall, cover and leave alone. Never had a problem. So easy. When I was a kid, (long long ago and far far away) we had a week off school every year in October for spud picking. The old fashioned way. The tractor turned the field and we kids all picked. Ugh. Swore I would never grow potatoes, until I learned the easy way.

    • James Trundy Verrill July 9, 2013 at 8:12 am #

      I know, Pam, though I never did it! My grandparents lived in Presque Isle, Maine – Aroostook County! where the BEST potatoes are grown:) I am old enough to remember the old system too. There is not much more beautiful than potato fields in bloom for as far as the eyes can see!!!

  2. Mary Carmen July 11, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    I now have an easier way to grow potatoes. Last year I did the old fashion way and dug them up and a few got split from my shovel. Will be doing your method next year. Thanks for the great gardening tip!

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