The Real Life Rocks

Adventures With Gardening Underground!

Trying Some New Veggies This Year

This year, we decided to get more creative with our garden and put in some night shade veggies like potatoes and sweet potatoes. I also bought onions and shallots on a whim! I kind of just went and bought them. Then, figured it out. Not the best approach, but when you are busy sometimes you get a little “wild hair” when shopping in a rush. Our local feed store also has non-GMO seeds and starters for our garden which are awesome! I know some people don’t mind genetically modified foods, but I would like my food the way God made it. Just my personal opinion. When there are long term studies proving that the GMO’s don’t affect us and have the same nutritional value plus can prove to me that our bodies absorb them the same as the non-GMO version, then I will consider them of benefit. For now, I know that GMO’s help us feed more people on this planet, but my home garden is going to be using non-genetically modified foods whenever possible. Our garden, our choice right?
Anyways! So, we planted the potatoes in the main garden that we share with our neighbor near the tomatoes, herbs, etc and they were in our best dirt. Our neighbor has cultivated it for years and uses the compost from the animals mixed in to it. So, it’s full of worms and looks fantastic! The herbs naturally ward off some of the insects along with Zinnias which we have around the perimeter of some of the beds. Some night shade veggies tend to be a “natural bug repellant”, but there are still some insects and diseases to worry about with potatoes for sure. The sweet potatoes are in a new box in my front yard in brand new dirt next to watermelons and cucumbers. My first rookie mistake was underestimating how big the watermelon plants would be along with the sweet potatoes in one area. So far, so good, but it’s more crowded than we would like.

Potatoes, onions and shallots can go in earlier than other veggies.

So, even with our late frosts this year, we got them in mid-spring and they survived. They have done fantastic! I have had one bought of black bugs on the regular potatoes, sprayed them with peppermint oil diluted in water, the bugs disappeared over night and we moved on. We were able to keep all of these plants completely organic. No Seven Dust, no chemicals, no nothing and they turned out perfect! So exciting! I know that there may be times in the future where we have some type of insects requiring more than an essential oil. However, chemicals are Plan B and I will try every organic option first.

When to dig up potatoes

One interesting thing about potatoes is the way that you know they are ready to be dug up. You wait for the top of the plant to die, then can carefully dig them up. Sure enough, our potato plants died last week and it was time to check them out. They spread out underground. It was SO fun digging around and finding the buried treasures! With the onions and shallots, they simply started to come up out of the ground as they got bigger. SO, no guessing on these for us. We could just pull them up easily without any tools.

Shallots taste great & are good for you

For those of you not familiar with shallots…they are small, grow in bunches and are a more delicate onion to cook with. I love them! They also have really high polyphenols…some info states that they have 6 times as many polyphenols as a Vidalia onion. Impressive! So, the health benefits are high and the flavor is great! Shallots multiply under the earth. That was really neat to see whereas the onions we planted just grew one large onion per plant and then started to rise up above the dirt as it grew. We might try a different type next year along with garlic. Now, I am going to experiment with drying and storing them so we can use them for months to come.

Try This Great Potato Recipe