Raised Bed Gardening — Potatoes
Harvesting potatoes requires digging them from the ground. During the digging process, potatoes can be easily damaged from the shovel.
Potatoes are tubers–enlarged regions of stem tissue that grow below the soil; the plant uses these tubers for energy reserves (carbohydrate storage).
There are at least 3 advantages for growing potatoes in raised beds (due to the loose organic soil):
- a shovel is not necessary for harvesting (less damage to potatoes).
- great growing medium –complete with slow-release nutrients for the plant (greater potential for larger potatoes). Additionally, The soil drains well, so rotting is less of a problem during rainy periods (since these potatoes were planted, we have received about 12 inches of rain—higher than average for this area).
- the effort of digging to harvest is reduced (as compared to digging potatoes from an in-ground garden with a full-sized shovel.
One note — the yellowing leaves in this photo are a result of the disease “early blight”, caused by a fungus (not the same pathogen that caused the Irish Potato blight). Both the above ground foliage and the below ground tubers can be affected by the fungus. These potatoes probably would have gotten a bit larger, but with the fungus showing up, we made the choice to dig them early.
Also in the picture (top right region), squash foliage — damaged from a different fungal disease — is seen. We removed the squash plants as they were pretty much decimated by the disease plus snail and slug damage).