I have just come in from working in the yard and harvesting from the garden. I fed the mosquitos, nearly had my head buzzed off by a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, lamented the Japanese Beetles, cursed a ground hog, wished I knew what makes a Mourning Dove so sad and got curious about what on earth the the little House Finches were going on about! I also go inspired...
Have you ever wondered how to grow potatoes? I did, at least until last year when I gave it a try. I am happy to say that potatoes are the lazy gardeners dream plant.
Here is what you do; gather up some potatoes, dig some holes, drop in the potatoes and go pour yourself a drink because you are done taking care of them until harvest time. Sorry to say but harvesting potatoes is a bit work. But, in the paraphrased words of Scarlett O'Hara, ' Don't think about today, think about that tomorrow.'
Here is how I began my potato crop. I found a bag of forgotten potatoes. The potatoes were covered in eyes and sprouting. Not one to enjoy waste, I went into our yard, dug a few holes, dropped those sorry littles guys into the holes and the next thing I knew, I had green sprouts! Go figure...
Since I had never grown potatoes, I searched the internet for what to look for when my little darlings were ready to harvest. I learned the plants will first flower and then, after the flowers brown, the plants are ready for harvest. Sounds easy enough right? Well, it is, except for the digging part...
One potato will yield many plants because each eye can become a plant. Each eye may be planted. Honestly, I just drop the whole thing into the hole and go get a drink. I also wait a couple of weeks after the flowers have browned and withered before harvesting. I save a few small potatoes for the next crop (think The Martian without people poop being involved) and after they are scrubbed and washed (an excellent job for your kids by the way) cook those little guys up and prepare yourself for the BEST tasting potatoes of your life!
This past winter, I purchased numerous bags of different types of organic potatoes for cheap from the discounted produce rack. I saved them in our cold sunroom and then planted them in the Spring. I planted a lot of potatoes... I enjoyed drinks over the weeks the plants grew to maturity. Then Scarlett O'Hara had to face the music and harvest. It took many dirty, sweaty hours. My husband Russell was not pleased... I remember he was the opposite of pleased in fact...
Anyway, our daughter, Mia, washed the purple potatoes and the rest got a bit of a rest in the sunroom on an old sheet. The next day, I layered the potatoes in clean packing paper (I had tons of packing paper because an Amazon order had just arrived but newspaper works well too) in a wire container I bought at a yard sale, placed the potatoes in the cool, dark basement and waited the customary two weeks for the potatoes to cure. Now, we have oodles and oodles of gorgeous fingerlings, russets and red and golden potatoes just waiting to be cooked. My second crop is growing, started from the seed potatoes of the first harvest. This last harvest will be ready before the snow comes and the whole cycle will begin again the Spring.
So, if you will excuse me, I need to go pour myself a drink...
Avid home cook and passionate instructor