the spud question

I’ve had a lot of fun with potatoes. We’ve even had volunteers coming up from the compost heap or in patches where we may have missed harvesting one or two. They are relatively easy and very rewarding. And, like most vegetables, they actually do taste better fresh out of your garden.

All them leaves are from a single potato (organic, of course) cut in half. Usually the toughest part (for me) has been finding soil that’s soft or loose enough for the potatoes to grow in. Most places I’ve lived have had a really heavy clay soil that isn’t ideal for spuds. They need room to form the potato without having to struggle for elbow room.

So I decided to launch an experiment this year. I filled this big pot with potting soil and stuck two potatoes or four halves (with the required sprouted eyes) into the loose dirt, leaving enough room in the pot to add soil in case the potatoes start growing exposed to the light. It also happened to be all the potting soil I had at the moment, so the pot wasn’t filled to the brim.

This is actually funny….  the potato that was planted exactly like the other one, hadn’t shown any signs of life, so I reached in and pulled it out to see what gives. Both halves look fine, so I stuck them back in again. If I had to guess, I’d say they haven’t grown because they were facing away from the sun and weren’t getting warm enough. We’ll see what happens when it gets warmer. I also turned that side of the pot to face the sun.

I googled this neat sketch of what the potato does underground. You can start to harvest new young potatoes when the plant forms flowers. They are mature when the vines turn yellow or die back.

So…  I’m reminded that I’d best go out and water my spud babies. I will gladly provide more pictures as they grow – though there isn’t all that much to see until they begin to flower and then they’re harvested.

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5 thoughts on “the spud question

    • Sad to say this experiment didn’t turn out all that well. The leaves grew like crazy for awhile and everything looked great, but then they started to wither and turned yellow. I never did harvest any from this particular experiment. Possibly not enough soil or something. I may eventually try another approach. Potatoes are so much fun to grow.

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  1. Well, that already answers a large part of my “hmmm, why didn’t the folks grow potatoes when they certainly did in Latvia?” – I’m from Chicago where the soil is VERY clay-based, so chances are my mom/grandma/aunt all raised tomatoes, cukes, peas, currants, etc., etc. rather than potatoes because they knew they wouldn’t grow. (Someday I’ll tell you the story how that same aunt may have changed the course of Latvian potato growing as a 5 year old!). Thank you so much for the info, and I look forward to updates.

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  2. We used to grow potatoes, when we lived in Oklahoma. They are really easy to grow and so much to harvest out of the ground. Yours look SOOOOO healthy!

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