Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Digging potatoes is like digging up treasure!

We have never attempted potatoes...in hindsight I wonder why is that?  They are ridiculously easy to grow and are very satisfying...their yield per plant is decent!  So as a gardener, your time feels well spent.  We've done virtually nothing but water our potato plants...and not very often I might add...they still turned out great!
Then we did some research and discovered how you can store potatoes using no hydro electric power whatsoever...you just need buckets of dry sand or dry peat moss.  The same goes for carrots and parsnips, but the peat moss or sand must be damp in that case.

The concept really got under my skin.  I did more research on root cellars and they have been around for a long time.  Of course I had heard of them before...but with the cost of hydro these days....it really makes sense that we invest some time and effort into this concept.  Now if our own basement didn't have moisture issues...I'd throroughly consider a root cellar option for storage in our own home.

We decided to try potatoes this year in the garden...some brown skinned with white flesh...some red skinned with white flesh.  In the thrill of planting, I forgot which ones were which.  It happens. 

A row of some kind of potatoes

The best part is when you notice your green plant parts dying off, because I've read that is the time to dig em up! 

So since we had one row of potato plants that seemed to be dying off...I went to work with my kid's shovel.  I dug a trench coming in at the side of the plant...just to get a peak at how these tubers grow!

It was one of the coolest things!!!  Like you just found out that someone stashed a bag of potatoes under this plant!  I was giddy...which is probably a weird thing.

the tuber still attached to one of the roots

And boy did they just keep coming!  I found many under one plant...and we probably would have had more from each plant if we had bothered to mound them up as most books suggest. 

I just kept brushing the dirt aside and there were MORE potatoes...

This was the result of one plant and it still felt like a big score.  We scrubbed them up and added some fresh cut chives from our garden.  We always microwave our chopped taters for 4-5 minutes before we toss in butter and salt and bake in the oven for 20-30 min. 

After chopping, you can put chives in a freezer bag and use them all winter long!

For a quick, no-nonsense side dish...I merely microwaved the chopped taters...tossed them in butter...sprinkled with sea salt and fresh cut chives...baked at 350-375 degrees in the oven.  You can also do the same prep work, wrap in foil and throw them on the BBQ too.  A very good alternative to heating up your kitchen these days.

 These were so yummy, and I can see me using more potatoes in recipes from now on.  Next year we'll may leave a large section of the garden for ALL KINDS of potatoes.  Either that or we'll invest in barrels to for potato growing.  More on that in another post...because it sounds like one of those weird experiments we'll either love...or laugh about later.

What did you try in the garden that was new for you?


  1. I tried a measly 10 corn plants in our city garden. 2 rows of 5 plants. So far, I have managed to harvest 12 ears of corn, score! I wish we had sapce for potatoes, but we conserve our samll space for tomatoes and peppers. Lovely post.

  2. we struggled with corn for years before we gave up...you live n learn...12 ears is better than we've ever done!!!