Potatoes to last!

When growing up our dinners always had some type of meat, vegetable, and of course potato.  And to this day even with my own family nothing has
changed.  That being said potatoes are an important staple in our diets.  YES…..its finally April and POTATO time.  And with the potatoes running over 50 US cents here for a medium size potato we are spending a considerable amount of money on potatoes.
In the spring of last year was when we moved here to Gujo.  I was out cleaning the weeds and trying to bring the garden back to life when the old lady that lived next door came over to introduce herself.  She was surprised to see foreigners nonetheless as neighbors.  And she expressed her surprise to see us out in the garden as well.  She offered me a box of potatoes that she wasnt going to use and I gladly accepted.  I looked in the box to see what looked like a potato expirement.  The potatoes had eyes growing everywhere and looked like deformed octopuses.  She proceeded to explain that there were two different types inside the box one was a light soft potato for salads and the other was a darker firmer type.  Im sorry I dont know the exact names, but I think one of them was called Akari in Japanese.
I was determined to be a good gardener and promptly put all the potatoes in the ground as she gave them to me.  I waited and waited and finally they all showed their little heads.  We were so happy when they were ready and we ended up having enough to last the summer.
This year having one batch of potatoes under my belt already I feel more confident for this years batch.  This year my goals are to have a bigger, better quality crop and triple my potato harvest from last year so the potatoes last into winter and have enough for next years seed.
So I had a few leftover from last year and went to the local home center to hunt for more potatoes.  I was in luck and found about 8 different varieties
being sold.  Unfortunately, my Japanese skills are limited and couldn’t read the descriptions about each of the potatoes.  So I asked one of the staff about their recommendations on a big, soft, hardy potato.  She pointed to her favorites and I bought 12 kilograms.  I also took another 12 kilograms of random potatoes that had good looking pictures shown on their descriptions.  So with the leftover potatoes and my newly bought potatoes from the home center I had about 30 Kilograms of seed to plant.
Last year I wasn’t aware that you could cut the potatoes in half and they would grow.  So I didnt have as many potatoes as I could have had or would have liked.  But that is water under the bridge at this point and I can only look forward to the upcoming batch.  I tripled the size alloted for my potatoes this year and planted my 4 different varieties on April 7th.  Now its a waiting game.
In efforts for a better, bigger crop this year I have tilled and turned the soil adding both cow and chicken manure as well as a 14-14-14 fertilizer.  I am also adding marigolds in between the rows to battle the bugs since last year they feasted on the leaves and hindered the growth.  My only worry is that I added to much nitrogen.
Was hoping to hear from you on your experiences with potatoes and if you had any soil preparation tips and/or cheap, homemade bug remedies.  Will keep you posted on the progress.

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