Success With Potatoes
Growing Potatoes in a Cool, Wet Climate
Even though Cindi Coffen of Redmond, Wash., grew up helping her mom in the garden, she didn't have a garden of her own until more recently. "It wasn't until I got married and we bought a house, that I started getting serious about gardening," says Cindi.
When it came to deciding what to plant, Cindi knew she had to grow potatoes. "My mom would often give me some fresh Yukon Gold potatoes she'd dug from her garden. The flavor was so much better than store-bought potatoes that I had to try growing them." Instead of trying to grow potatoes in her vegetable garden, which was already filled with vegetables, Cindi decided to try the Gardener's Supply Grow Beds. "Living in western Washington, we have a lot of cool rainy days in the summer. The black plastic in the beds holds the heat well and the potatoes grew great," she says. Cindi had huge plants and a bumper crop of Russett potatoes from her beds. "My husband prefers these to the Yukon Gold variety. I probably could have produced more tubers, but I used a very nitrogen-rich compost. The plants were large, but I think the spud-production may have suffered." Once the spuds were harvested, she grew fall crops of peas and beets in the potato beds.
Cindi has a small yard that's partly shaded, so doesn't have room for a large garden. However, she manages to grow tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, summer squash, beans and cucumbers. She has found the Gardener's Supply Tomato Ladders work as well for trellising cucumbers as they do for training tomatoes. "The ladders keep the cucumbers off the ground and the fruits have a wonderful quality," Cindi says. "I grew 'Cool Breeze' this year and loved seeing the cucumbers hanging up high where they were easy to spot and pick."
Unfortunately, Cindi isn't the only one enjoying her garden. Deer, rabbits, and the occasional bear will wander through for a snack. "I had to build a PVC tubing structure with bird netting draped over it to protect my garden from deer and rabbits," she says. The bear are primarily interested in rolling in the compost bin in the backyard.
Despite a small, shady yard, cool weather and some challenging wildlife friends, Cindi is able to produce an abundant harvest. "I really enjoy the fresh food," she says, "and the fact that it reduces my food bill in summer."