Growing your own food is sometimes a challenge. It is especially challenging when you make a gardening blunder that costs you six months of work! So what did I do and what did I learn? I learnt never to plant potatoes in the same bed as pumpkin.
Let me tell you a little story of why.
Saturday morning. I was all geared up for gardening, because earlier in the week I had harvested a somewhat modest crop of pumpkins and squash. Within the same bed, and in between the rows of pumpkins, I thought I was being quite clever, and planted potatoes. Two varieties, Sapphire and King Edward. Saving space, I thought I was.
Well it was not as clever as it should have been.
How do I know that there should have been more?
Well, I had a control plant! In the other large garden bed that had no pumpkin plants, I had a willing volunteer in the form of a single Desire potato plant that I missed when I harvested last years crop.
From that one plant I harvested about 2 kg of spuds. At this stage, I was excited, thinking that the front bed would have a massive harvest. I was so psyched that I had two 15 litre buckets at the ready.
So on to the front bed where I had sown two bags of seed potatoes.
The potato plants had grown strong during the summer, and there was little difference between the two varieties and the control plant above the ground. All the plants had died off, so now it was time to harvest.
However, after about 40 minutes of hard graft, a few cuts from digging deeply into the bed, all I got for my labour was a couple of handfuls of piddly little spuds. The one I am holding in my hand is the Desire from the other bed. It is not an optical illusion. My hand is resting on top of the other potatoes! The Sapphire and King Edwards are tiny.
Here is my final haul. Only quarter of a bucket. Last year from the rear bed, I harvested enough spuds to fill two of these buckets!
A gardening disaster, six months in the making!
I thought it may have been the dry summer season, but I did water the bed at least once a week to keep it fairly moist, and it was also heavily mulched with pea straw to prevent evaporation. It was quite mild with few days over 40°C, so the plants didn’t burn.
So I did some research. I hit one of my favourite gardening websites, Gardenate, to determine what one should grow with pumpkins. To my shock, all was revealed! It said avoid growing in the same bed: Potatoes.
I wondered why? Then I stumbled upon an extract within Mary Horsfell’s book “Creating Your Eco-Friendly Garden“. In a chapter about interplanting (page 8), she mentions the following;
“I avoid having pumpkin or squash in the same bed as potatoes, as neither with thrive.”
Well there you have it. The mystery of this years pumpkin and squash failure and the following potato famine has been solved.
So repeat after me. I Will Never Plant Potatoes With Pumpkins Again! It’s just not worth it.
But the great thing about gardening is that I can try again next year. Now I know what doesn’t work, I can avoid that problem and should have a bumper crop of both. If anything, this gardening fail has made me more determined. I am so looking forward to the Easter break, as I will be planting up a storm!