Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Potato planting

Years ago, I read an article that said not to bother growing potatoes. They take up too much room in the garden, and they're the cheapest thing in the produce section of the grocery store anyway, so don't waste your time. That was before I learned that potatoes are sprayed more than a dozen times during the growing season with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers. Now I buy nothing but organic potatoes, or we grow our own. Even organic potatoes are cheap, so we don't bother growing anything that we can buy at the store. But with so many potatoes from which to choose, it's easy to pick a few special potatoes every year to grow in the garden.

This year, I chose All Blue (pictured at the top), All Red (also known as Cranberry), Purple Viking (white inside), and French Fingerling (below). We've grown the blue potatoes before, but the rest of them will be new for us this year.

My favorite is the French Fingerling, because of the spider web design in the middle when you cut it open.

I ordered the potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa. If it grows there, it should grow in Illinois. Whole potatoes arrived last week, and I cut them up into sets on Saturday morning. Each piece should be larger than a golf ball and have at least two eyes on it. Then you have to wait 24 hours for the cuts to heal up before planting, so Mike and I spent Sunday afternoon planting. Now the hard part -- waiting! Yeah, watering and weeding are work, but waiting is harder.

14 comments:

LindaG said...

I did not know that about potatoes. The spraying part.
My brother in Michigan has grown potatoes. We might try this year, but we have a trip coming up soon. Will think about it.
Waiting is always hard! ;)
Not sure what my hubby would think about blue potatoes.
Good luck! :)

Caprifool said...

Not to "bother"? Wow, the person who wrote that has never eaten fresh potatos. Those first ones, steamed together with some stems of dill and some sea salt. Served with pickled herring, sour cream and chives. It's what many of us Swedes talk about all spring.

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Linda, the blue potatoes are divine! There is a restaurant an hour from us that has them on the menu sometimes as a side dish for specials.

Caprifool, thanks! Now I'm drooling all over my keyboard. :)

LindaG said...

I'll keep my eyes open as we travel next week. Perhaps if we eat more than just Popeye's chicken (his favorite), I'll see some new potatoes to try on a menu somewhere. I think I'd like to try them. :)

momanna98 said...

Potatoes from the garden are SO much better than store bought! So much creamier! I just hate trying to dig them up. But it's worth it!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

My lady has grown potatoes in her garden for many years. Not many... due to space... but yummy additions are always welcome. This year we are trying potato grow bags from gardeners.com so that we can keep other things growing in the garden and have potatoes too!

colenic said...

I have actually heard of people growing potatoes in old tires...you stack them one on top ofthe other and stick the potatoes in...because it's raised, the weeds are minimal and makes it a bit easier to pull them out...something I've always wanted to try but my hubby thinks that it's easier to just buy them...

LindaG said...

I've heard that about tires, and thought of trying it, too. I'd just be worried that there might be something in the tires that would... be detrimental.

I've also hear of using chicken wire or something similar, and lining it with newspaper, and then adding dirt and planting the potatoes that way, adding dirt as the plants grow. My brother in Michigan has used a similar method and had quite a few little potatoes last year.

Anonymous said...

What I like to do with fingerling potatoes is make them salt crusted. To do that, take 8 cups of water and bring to a hard boil. Dissolve into that 16 ounces of kosher salt. Once it is dissolved, put 3lbs of fingerlings into the water for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes drain them and lay them out ona cookie sheet, and within a minute or two, a salt crust will form on them. They will be salty and firm on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. I generally make a dipping sauce of butter and chives. I tend to use yukon gold fingerlings, but the purple ones are good too (although they get a lot softer and taste more like squash). These are very addicting.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and after going back and noticing your pictures of cut poatotes, if you are making the salt crusted potatoes, do not cut them or puncture the skins, or else they will absorb the salt and become too salty to eat.

Chef E said...

Guys these kinds of potatoes make great Gnocchi, polish pirogi and potato pizza crust, because they are tasty and a fun thing to serve to company, since the regular potato kind are so common.

I miss gardening, and growing my own food. Living in a condo can be boring!

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Linda, thanks for suggesting the chicken wire method. I had heard about using tires but was also wondering about nasties leaching into the potatoes.

Anonymous, thanks for the fingerling suggestion.

Chef E, yep, love serving these to dinner guests. Wonderful idea about using them in pizza crust. Can't wait to try that!

Abiga/Karen said...

We planted some potatoes last year. Best potatoes I ever had except from some from the farmers market. Nothing can beat fresh potatoes. We had sweet potatoes too in the garden. So much better!

Karen Sue said...

These look great! I've never tried potatoes, but I'm thinking maybe we should have a few just to try out for the year...

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