My brilliant idea was to build a potato cage. Unlike a tomato cage, the potato cage is underground. Very simple to do!
Step 1: Gather What Ye Need...or...Mountains Out of Mole Hills
Hardware mesh (I picked 1/2 inch as my garden dirt is lumpy and I did not want air pockets to form as the ground settles after I bury my cage. Hopefully, it is still small enough mesh to keep out the vermin!) Mine cost around $7.50 at Lowes.
Wire cutters. Usually there is some form of a wire cutter on your pliers, but really, you should have a dedicated tool for this.
A roll of wire (gauge unknown, just something you can cut and weave through the mesh)
Small zip ties (in case you run out of wire)
Step 2: Measuring Up
Carefully unwrap the wire holding the mesh in a roll. You will use this later to wire the pieces together. Measure and cut 65 inches from the roll of mesh.
Step 3: Get Another Body...
Unfortunately, I was so tied up in actually making the cage that I forgot to take photos! Oops. Just too anxious to keep my potatoes from those pesky varmints!
Step 4: Zippity Doo Dah!
It is best to cut the wire into shorter, more manageable pieces! This wire may not be long enough for the whole job, so that is where the other wire I listed would come in. When I ran out of wire, the only other wire I had was beading wire; too light to use for this. Luckily, my husband had a whole bag of small zip ties that had been kicking around the garage for years. They worked like a charm!
Step 5: Can Ya Dig It?
Go ahead and plant your potatoes in the cage. As the plants grow, add dirt around them, building up the depth a little at a time. Do not cover up too much foliage at once. You can continue to go up with layers of dirt and straw. This will help give the potatoes room to grow INSIDE the cage instead of UNDER it. A great source of information about growing potatoes can be found at http://www.thegardenhelper.com/potato.html
I figure this will hold 5 potato plants, maybe a couple more.
The forecasters got it wrong (again), and we got sun when it was supposed to rain, so I took the opportunity to dig! Wanted to get the cage in without compacting the soil too much, as would have happened if I tried this during or right after a heavy rain, which had been predicted.
Step 6: And Finally...
Already edited to remove the weird little code thingys that popped up for each and every contraction used. Sigh.