Seed potatoes go into the ground as soon as the soil is workable, says my old Rodale gardening book. Which would be about now, if you can just ignore the pretend snow we’re getting this week. Something I especially appreciate about potato-growing is that you can get started while cooking dinner. Just lop off chunks from organic potatoes bought at the store or the farmers market, taking at least two or three ‘eyes’ per chunk — the sprouting ends are mildly poisonous to eat, anyway. Or buy seed potatoes, which are supposed to be disease free, and follow the same procedure.

The chunks cure for a couple days to form a skin then go into foot-deep holes, covered with a couple inches of compost. A sunny site is best, as you might expect. Over the next couple of months I backfill the holes as the plants grow, leaving a bit of leafy green above the fill level.

My old gardening book says that potatoes need potassium to grow, and it’s said that our local soil is already potassium-rich, but I sprinkle the soil with wood ashes anyway. But if sun and water are all you’ve got, you’re good.