Monday, August 24, 2009


Well, not quite.

Potato_bin I’m afraid my family sees my efforts to raise potatoes as rather a joke.  After all, you can buy a five pound bag at the grocery store for less than $2.  And I must admit my yearly yield isn’t much more than a couple of pounds.  But that’s not why I grow them.  I grow them for the enjoyment of eating something I have grown.  And, as my husband pointed out, every vegetable we grow is free of pesticides.  What’s wrong with that?

I must admit I don’t go out and buy seed potatoes.  By the end of the winter, I usually end up with half a bag of bulk white potatoes that have eyes in them.  I let them mature in my pantry and by late May, I’m ready to plant.  (Mind you, I have tried seed potatoes that I bought at the Mennonite store.  Maybe it was just a bad year for seed potatoes, but it seems I’ve done better with my grocery store rejects.)

I tried planting potatoes in the ground and not only did I not have a great crop, but it was difficult to find them all.  So, for the past couple of years I’ve been growing them in a big plastic tub.  As they’re confined to a small area, naturally there won’t be hundreds of potatoes, nor are they tremendously big. 

Potato_dying Some years my potato plants have flowered, but most years they have not.  I keep thinking that one day I’ll read up on potato husbandry, but there’s usually something more important (like keeping us in clean laundry) that needs to be done.

I harvested my 2009 potato crop last week.  First, I waited until the plants were all shriveled up, and then I pulled them from the soil.  Potatoes_dumped Next, I dumped the entire tub onto a plastic tarp.  This made it easy to keep track of everything. I was delighted that upon dumping, I saw quite a few decent sized potatoes.  I have a little (child’s) bamboo rake, and I used that to rake through the dirt to find even the tiniest potatoes.  (We’re talking the size of your baby fingernail.)

2009_potato_crop That night, I boiled the smallest potatoes until they were tender, drained them, and dumped a big gob of butter into the saucepan, along with a handful (about a third of a cup) of chopped fresh parsley (also from the garden) and mixed it all together.