I Heart Potatoes

Each year I have a "favorite" crop from my garden.  My first year it was basil, mostly because that's the only thing that really grew.  Last year, it was green beans, when I realized how hardy and productive they were.  This year, without a doubt, my favorite crop is the red potato.

If you recall, from my earlier posts about the potatoes, the seed spuds starting out like this.

Then they started sprouting, and I was thrilled!

The plants grew like crazy and filled the entire section of the garden.

Yes, those are all potato plants

But recently they started dying back, and I knew it was time to start digging to see whether or not anything productive had been going on underneath all of that soil.  That's the crazy thing about potatoes - you have absolutely NO IDEA if the potatoes are actually growing or not, because it all happens underground.  This being my first tuber vegetable, I found it to be highly frustrating. 

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when after less than 5 seconds of pushing away dirt with my hands, I uncovered this:

And a close-up
I proceeded to uncover as many potatoes as I could find with my hands, and then used a pointy garden tool that I think it used for loosening the roots of weeds to get underneath the potato without damaging it and popping it up out of the soil.  No digging required.  It was awesome.

Before "popping"
Once they were all loosened, I just grabbed the stalks of the plant and pulled. 

Love! :o)

I pulled about 5 or 6 plants today, and most of them averaged about 4 potatoes were plant.  One particularly sad looking plant only produced on tiny, measly potato.  Oh well, guess you can't win them all.

Originally I was thinking about harvesting all of the potatoes in one day, but when I noticed that many of them seemed to be somewhat underdeveloped so I stopped after those first 5 or 6 plants. 

When I was done, I had a nice looking bowl of potatoes. 

See the really tiny ones? I wish I could have left them in the ground longer...
I still have another 12 or so plants to harvest, and I decided to leave the ones with the healthiest looking plants up there for another week or so, and only pulled the ones that had dying plants.  Overall, I am thrilled with the success of these potatoes and I will definitely do them again last year.  They did attract a LOT of new bugs to the garden that I have never seen before and I will need to look into potato pests in greater depth in the future, but they didn't seem to affect the potatoes themselves, as there were no visual holes or anything.

In case you're wondering, the spuds were purchased from Four Season's Nursery, the same site where I purchased my dormant plants.  I will be reviewing them in another post where I talk about the successes and failures of the dormant plants, but I would most definitely purchase their potato seeds again (and trust me, they are not compensating me in any way for saying that.)

I gave my sister one of the potatoes already, and DH and I will be using them on Tuesday for a dinner or meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  So although I can't yet comment on their taste, I can't wait to try them!


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