In February, I made my first attempt at growing potatoes. I planted a small crop of Kennebec potatoes in a potato Grow Bag from Gardener's Supply. I can't recall if I planted them on Valentine's Day or President's Day weekend--probably President's Day weekend, because I remember reading Carla's potato-planting post at Austin Urban Gardens on Valentine's Day, and that probably reminded me to go buy seed potatoes--but I did plant them. I even managed to cut them up, dust them with sulfur and let them cure before planting. I also put sulfur in the soil around the seed potatoes. Two months later, the potato plants looked like this.
On Friday night, I read Carla's post about her potato harvest. I was going to wait a full four months to harvest my potatoes, but after reading her post, I couldn't wait a second longer --I had to know if I had potatoes RIGHT NOW!
So I ran out to the shed, got the wheelbarrow out, tripped over a cinder block, got up and wheeled over to the grow bag, tried to lift it and couldn't pick it up, and went inside to ask Jack for a hand. He dumped the contents into the wheelbarrow and announced, "I see potatoes!" Well, what do you know. Sure enough, there they were.
I'm such a garden nerd, I had to arrange the potatoes in all sorts of little vignettes and take pictures of them. Here are the tubers dangling from their stalks on top of the soil in the wheelbarrow.
And here's a closeup of the original hunk of seed potato at the end of one of the stalks.
Here's the biggest potato and the littlest potato, with a badminton shuttlecock for reference.
Not all the seed potatoes sprouted. Not sure why; they all had eyes. And about 5 potatoes had soft mushy spots. Maybe I should have harvested them at the 90 day point.
Here they are, all cleaned up and laid out on a placemat with a quarter for reference.
All in all, not bad for a first attempt. I certainly didn't get the 13-pound harvest the Gardener's Supply folks did, but I definitely have enough potatoes for at least a couple of side dishes for the two of us. And according to the Aggies, I can make a second attempt this August.
What's your favorite potato recipe? If you have one, please share! I feel like these fellows deserve special treatment.
Words and photos © 2009-2010 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.