What is growing?

This page discusses what we grow, how we grow it, when we grow it, and what pests we’ve encountered. We are adding slowly to the page, so please bear with us!



As successful as we’ve been with tomatoes (see the link above), that is how unsuccessful we’ve been with potatoes. Just check out the sad post about the World’s Worst Potato Farmer (WWPF). ¬†(Small triumphs of the world’s worst potato farmer).

A lot of our trouble seems to actually be related to the temperatures here. Growing potatoes in the ground has been the only real success we’ve had. Although to be fair, we have not tried a wine barrel. I wonder if that would keep the tubers cool enough?

The first two years we made attempts to grow spuds, we ordered seed potatoes like good farmers. I even called the ever helpful folks at Peaceful Valley and the gal on the help line was more than willing to talk to me for quite some time and make suggestions. She gave advice on how long to leave them in the ground, what varieties deal with heat the best, and all that sort of good advice that an aspiring potato farmer needs. I don’t think she realized she was talking to the WWPF. If she had, her advice might have been, go have a pint of Guinness, because that’s as close as you’ll get, dear. None of the seed potato years went well. One will occasionally sprout as a volunteer, but I think that is just to spite me. Also, the seed potatoes were usually not available when our volunteer potatoes would start coming up. I finally decided to just use potatoes from the farmer’s market. I figured if they could grow in Riverside, they sure as heck could grow in Orange County.

I cut the potatoes up, making sure that there were several eyes on each piece. I cubed each fist sized potato into 4 or 6 pieces depending on the size. Then, I put each piece into the greenhouse for a couple of weeks and looked for sprouting.

When the potatoes had sprouted, we took them up to the Plot to plant into the ground. And then, considering my status as WWPF, I handed them all off to the then-8 year old to plant. Despite warnings to the contrary, we just left the automatic waterer running as usual, 20 minutes every other morning. Wet ground is not good for potatoes, but at this point, we did not think anything would work, so we did not bother moderating the water. ¬† We never mounded dirt around the plants. ¬†Finally, some limited success! Bryn’s potatoes produced about 8 pounds of spuds. Joy!

This year, when our volunteer potatoes started coming up, in December, we went straight to the farmer’s market potatoes. We sprouted them in the greenhouse. And handed them off to the 9 year old. We left the automatic waterer running every other morning for 20 minutes. They may not be in straight rows, but we have high hopes for our dozen or so potato plants.