One of the great perks about owning a home isn’t just having a place to hang your hat, it’s also having the patch of green that comes with it. Your home is your castle, and you should have a lovely retreat to escape the rigors of daily life. That’s exactly why many people love their outdoor space.

While most people toy around with the idea of adding a bountiful vegetable garden in their back yard, those dreams seldom become reality. This truth is not everyone is willing to go through the trouble of actually digging, planting, and watering their crops. It’s not as easy as it sounds! A garden requires a lot of upkeep.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t need to sacrifice all of your leisure time to transform your back yard into a veritable garden of plenty. Gardener Laurie Ashbach found a brilliantly simple solution. Get ready to make your neighbors jealous…

All you’ll need is four fence posts, an eight-foot section of wire, a wire cutter, a bale of straw, compost, bags of dirt, and seed potatoes. This list might sound overwhelming, but you can easily procure these items at any common home goods store. 


Start by placing the fence posts in the ground a few feet apart, you should be able to do this just using your hands, but if the ground is a little too firm you can always use a mallet on the posts. Bend the fencing around your posts and tie them together to ensure that the fence is secure.


Throw your hay into the center of your fence. Really, you can just go right ahead and chuck the hay in there. Don’t worry about how it looks at this stage of the game, just concentrate on getting all of the hay into the ring you have created with the posts and the netting. 


Once you have successfully transferred the hay into the center of your structure, dig out a hole in the center of the hay, forming a little nest. There’s no need to be formal about it, a simple nest will do. After forming the hay into a nest-like structure, place your compost in the middle.


Next, cut the potatoes and place them inside the compost. If you’re in a hurry you can chuck in the potatoes without a second thought, but if you have time there’s another technique you can use. To do this, make sure each potato has at least four “eyes,” which work like seeds.


“I started with 2 pounds of potatoes which translated to 8 medium potatoes with about 4 eyes each which meant there were 36 eyes total to plant,” Laurie said. “About 9 eyes were placed around the outside edge of the nest in 4 layers.  Next year I will double the number of potatoes per tower and keep going up.  On the top, I planted the eyes right in the middle so they could grow up.”


She planted the potatoes on the first of June, and by the Fourth of July, this is what she had. Kind of crazy right? Who knew that just a little wire mesh, some hay, some compost and some old potatoes could yield this kind of greenery in such a short span of time? 


Looking good! When you typically think of potatoes you tend to think of the tuber itself, nestled under the earth waiting to be plucked so it can see the light of day. You don’t often think of the lush greens and the flowers that a sprouting potato plants can yield. 


Watering the plants is essential, and Laurie even suggested adding a soaker hose. Of course, in order to keep a plant healthy and happy it requires water and sunlight, each according to their specific needs. Potato plants, especially ones grown this way, need lots of water throughout the season. 


By the end of summer, it was time for the harvest! Looking at the mountain of potato plants it might seem like the greens and the flowers were dying. This couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s just a necessary part of the growing process. 


While watering your potatoes is very important, it is equally important to know when to stop watering your plants. Just prior to harvesting is one of those times. Why? Well, Laurie recommended not watering right before harvesting so you don’t have to dig through mud.


Not a bad yield! Just think, this was her first attempt; the others are bound to be even more impressive! Think of all the money you can save at the grocery store if you are able to grow potatoes like this in your own back yard with little time and effort. 


Anyone else want some french fries? That’s just one of the tasty treats you can whip up with your freshly harvested potatoes! With a yield like this you’ll be cooking potatoes up all year long! But be sure to hold a few back for planting time! 


When growing potatoes is this fun and easy, there’s no reason not to do it. Happy planting!

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