Feast logo

Potatoes in the Garden

The viral plants that haunt my garden dreams

By Janelle PolcynPublished 8 months ago 3 min read
Potatoes in the Garden
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Someone told me long ago that to grow potatoes, you just wait until one you bought from the store grows eyes and you put it in the ground. I had two such potatoes one spring that I decided would become the start of my free potato scheme. I put one in the ground and one in a pot.

The one in the ground was placed behind the garage, the sunniest part of our little yard. It didn't do anything, so I dumped some failed seed starts in the same place and gave up on both of those garden dreams.

The one in the pot, on the other hand, sprouted. It grew two little leaves with very little encouragement from me. I used compost that was maybe more cardboard than soil and some dirt from a corner of the yard where the pool used to spill over. I used the largest pot I could find, but it's still only 7 gallons or so.

As the leaves got bigger and welcomed more friends, I grew encouraged. I weeded the little pot and considered my experiment. So far, my odds had been fifty-fifty.

A bag of taters from my mother-in-law were sitting on my counter in the kitchen, growing more eyes and subsuquently more judmentmental of my poor time-management skills. I finally decided I would take my fifty-fifty chances and throw them in the recently weeded and upturned part of the yard. This part got approximately the same amount of sun as the potato in the pot and it was later in the season.

Several weeks later, I was sitting in a friend's garden when she informed me about potatoes and why gardeners and farmers almost always put them in contained spaces: pots, raised beds, stacks of tires. Potatoes you see, develop extensive roots and spread beyond where the hopeful planter planned the potatoes to propagate. In essence, potatoes grow like weeds underground.

"If you plant potatoes in the ground, you'll have more potatoes than you know what to do with or could ever eat," my friend told me.

Oh no.

The next day, I went into the yard, hoping for a relaxing day of weeding, when I saw the proof of what I had done.

One batch of leaves, the same shape as the leaves in the pot, had sprung. Not just two little leaves either, but a whole party of leaves. I snapped off the leaves, hoping the potatoes would rot and die underground like any other living thing would do.

No, the potatoes are still fighting.

I came back the next day to find a separate batch of leaves growing a few feet over. I have no memory of how many potatoes I tossed in the ground or where exactly each one could be.

So, I dig.

I dig my hands into the soft, wet soil and pull out one, then two, potatoes and all their happy leaves with them and toss them on the weed pile. Panicked, I dig for more. But I know, deep in my soul, the potatoes have successfully invaded my yard, and by my own doing no less. I created this villain and I'll have to defeat it, but it's a slow, creeping enemy. One bunch of leaves at a time, I spot a potato previously promising pounds of potential and now destroying my sanity.

I don't know when I'll be sure the potatoes are all gone. My lesson has been learned and I'll eye that spot of the yard for little batches of leaves until the day I die, watching for my newest arch-nemesis, the potatoes in the garden.


About the Creator

Janelle Polcyn

Writing is where I can think, but also where I can shut my brain off and just let the world disappear and the story consume me. Personal anecdotes, long-form fiction, micro-fiction, and things that make me smile.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.