I don’t have a lot of space in my garden, and I especially don't have space for plants that don’t show well. The tops of potatoes have to die in order for French fries to be born, I know that … but I just don’t want to have to watch. So this summer I got a humongous “smart pot,” which was actually designed for tree growers, filled it about a third with a soil/compost mix, and stuck it a hidden (but sunny) corner of my patio. My friends at Wood Prairie Farm recommended ‘Elba’ seed potatoes for a good yield. I placed about 8 on top of the soil, added more compost and a layer of straw and waited. They were healthy right from the start. Every couple of weeks I added more compost and straw until the pot was filled to the top. If it hadn’t rained non-stop all summer long I would have had to water. I’m not complaining. Really. So the vines got long and stringy and every time I checked they were still green. Last week they were still alive, though not a pretty sight, and I decided I had waited long enough for them to die. So I nudged them along to their destiny, otherwise known as my kitchen, by delicately eliminating the alive parts. I hope someone will do something similar for me if I hang on too long after I lose my functionality.
And just look! What a smart pot.