Well, not quite.
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.
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. 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.)
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.