Wait don't leave...you know you want to hear my list of all the joys of growing potatoes.
The fun can all start in March when you drive to your local garden store and buy your potato starts. They are just plain old potatoes....nothing exciting or crazy...that part comes much later. I love that I can buy my potato seed when there is sometimes still snow on the ground. I love that they are not to picky about when you plant them so as soon as I can get a shovel in the ground and that it is not too wet I plant them. I usually buy about 12 of each variety I want to plant. And sometimes the potato seed are big enough that I can cut them in half and get two plants out of one. As long as there are at least two eyes on each piece you plant everything is good.
This year I mixed up the routine a little bit and bought some potato seed from a seed company...Pinetree Seeds. I waited and waited for my seed to come. Finally, I called them and learned that they were waiting for when the rules say it is time to plant potatoes in Massachusetts...AKA...Zone five. I begged them to send me mine and they agreed. It did not seem to matter much to them that I am crazy :)
Because they took so long to send the seed I panicked and also bought potato seed from the garden store in town. This meant that I planted over sixty potato plants this year. Half of my garden was potatoes and that has not happened....ever.
Once the potato seed is in the ground all you have to do is hill some dirt up around the plant that comes up. Once, when we lived in Indiana, I found an evil bug on my potato plants but I filled a bucket with soapy water and handpicked each bug off and tossed them in the bucket and never heard from them again.
I always plant a mix of red potatoes, gold potatoes and white potatoes and this year I added fingerling potatoes into the mix. I am not sure if I will ever bring myself to purchase the purple-y/ blue potatoes. It just seems wrong.
I always forget that my favorite part is digging up the potatoes when they are ready. You know it is time when the plant starts to fall over and turn yellow and sometimes even brown. I love slowly pulling the top of the plant and eagerly watching for the few potatoes still attached to the stem to emerge.
After I pick those off and put them in the bucket then I carefully dig under where the potato plant was and find the rest of the buried treasure.....okay, secretly it feels like you are finding something very important...yes, I am telling you that digging up potatoes is very rewarding....okay, and addicting.
I have filled three five gallon buckets with potatoes so far this year. I still have two rows left and all my fingerling plants. My plants did so well this year. Every hill had at least 5-6 potatoes in it. I felt like the queen of potato growing.
This year I found a new potato recipe and it is quick, easy, and very yummy. My kids inhale them.You just slice some potatoes fairly thin. Melt a few tablespoons of butter. Pour the melted goodness onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and black pepper over the melted butter and then lay a single layer of the potatoes on the butter and put it in the oven at 375 degrees....usually within twenty minutes they are done.
Once I dig up all my potatoes then I store them in the basement and use them all winter. If I store them right they usually last me until March and then I have to start buying potatoes from Costco again :)