How Does My Garden Grow: Potatoes

Oh, my beloved potatoes.

I am incredibly thankful that spuds are so easy to grow, because there is no other food on earth that I can inhale so voraciously.

This is the second installment of the How Does My Garden Grow series (check out the first one here), and if you’ve never grown potatoes let me show you the simplicity. (There’s also a video below of our harvest.)

Note: Normally we wouldn’t harvest potatoes until the fall, but since these are at our current garden we have to get them out early.

The unexpectedly early harvest meant a lot of teeny tiny tots.

There are two ways to grow potatoes:

  1. From true seeds
  2. From seed potatoes, or tubers

This post is about growing from seed potatoes.

April 14, 2017

What is a seed potato?

A seed potato is just a regular, harvested potato from last season. It has been stored correctly throughout the winter (cool and dark), and therefore hasn’t sprouted any eyes.

How do you plant seed potatoes?

1 – 2 weeks before planting you need to pre-sprout/green-sprout/chit the tubers, meaning you put them outside in indirect sunlight so the eyes will start to sprout. These eyes will soon grow new potatoes.

Any tubers bigger than a golfball will need to be cut down, and you have to make sure that there’s at least one eye on every piece.

We planted the tubers in trenches and gradually covered them with soil and/or leaves as the green tops began to sprout and the plants reached the ideal height.

Eventually…. flowers!

June 20, 2017

Potato flowers can lead to potato berries, which lead to true potato seeds. We’re growing potatoes from seed at the new property, and will share that harvest when it happens.

July 4, 2017

Harvest time… now or never!

You can see how the buried and mounded seed potatoes have sprouted a whole mess of greenery up top.

And a whole mess of new potatoes below….

The potatoes were carefully dug out with a small pitchfork, revealing the magic

The baby potatoes initially feed off of the seed potato, or “mother,” if you will, who eventually turns to gelatinous mush from being sucked dry.

At times it was a challenge trying to avoid the goo as we plucked the fresh crop!

Crops: Potatoes
Annual or Perennial: Tuber Propagated Annual
No. of Varieties: 8 (see names below)
Planting Date: April 14, 2017
Age When Planted: 1~ year old tubers
Source: Fedco Seeds

Potato Varieties:

  • Carola
  • Daisy Gold
  • Elba
  • LaRatte
  • German Butterball
  • Rose Finn Apple
  • Strawberry Paw
  • Yukon Gem

You can see the beautiful range of colors in the trug where I put the tiniest tots from every variety.

And here’s the video that fully illustrates the harvesting process:

 

That cabinet of wooden racks at the end of the video are where the potatoes will hang out and cure for a week or two.

What does curing potatoes mean?

The process of curing potatoes gets them ready for storage.

As you can see we didn’t brush off all the dirt or wash the harvest, because the idea is to quickly dry out the potatoes in a cool place. Lots of air circulation and darkness is important if you want the potatoes to stay firm and fresh for months and not sprout eyes.

And there you have it… potatoes!

I look forward to sharing how each of these varieties taste (some of them are new for us), and the exciting plans I have for them in the kitchen.

curedlife

Creator

Betsy Brockett was diagnosed with Mesothelioma at the age of 28, and continues to thrive despite the challenges that cancer has created in her life. Holding a degree in Art & Visual Technology from George Mason University, Betsy expresses herself through writing, photography, painting, pottery, and more. She is most often found cultivating, creating, practicing/teaching yoga, or simply enjoying the beauty of life.

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