Thursday, October 10, 2013

Red, White & Blue Potatoes

This summer we grew our first crop of potatoes.  After reading a little bit and talking to a few friends who had grown them we decided to give it a try. There are as many ways to grow potatoes as there are different varieties.  Having transplanted the horseradish to another location in the yard there was an available space to build a potato box.
I had purchased some red seed potatoes a few weeks earlier and set them in a cool place to sprout.
Supposedly, potatoes from a grocery store are not suitable for planting because they are sterile, but discovering some overlooked sprouted fingerling potatoes, I cut them up and added them to the box anyway. 
On a bright sunny May 4th, the potato pieces, each with an eye, were placed in the rich soil and covered.  As the green started to push up, another level of 1 X 4's was set on top and filled in with more soil, until there were four levels, which took five weeks.
Two weeks later they were growing well.

In another two weeks, the foliage was triple in volume, so we put up a corral extension to keep them upright and contained. 
Another few weeks and there were little purple and white flowers.  At this point it was a matter of water and wait.  Our understanding was that the greenery would turn brown, indicating the potatoes would be ready to dig up in a couple of weeks, and this whole process from start to finish would take four months.
At four months to the day, with high anticipation, I dug into the soil.  While there were not as many as I had hoped for, I was happy with the quality of what I was finding and pleasantly surprised to unearth all the fingerlings. 
When I was done there were ten pounds of beautiful potatoes.  Not bad for a first attempt.  I'm already making plans for next year.  I'll start them earlier, if it isn't still snowing, and I'll plant more.  I think I'm going to need a sweet potato box as well.

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