Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Tasty Experiment

I'm a little late on posting about this "tasty experiment" in the veggie garden, but they were so delicious I didn't want to miss out on the chance to pass-it-along.

It all started back in late January when my hairdresser...who plants a LARGE veggie garden...told me that a client of hers (I promise this isn't gossip) plants potatoes every year on February 14th. It's a family tradition of theirs. The client told her they're easy to grow...with very few pests...and oh, so delicious.

Well, that got the idea percolating in my head...hmmm, potatoes...that could be fun. It wasn't two weeks later when I read Tom MacCubbin's...over at Tom's Diggs...post on planting potatoes. He suggested buying a package of the fingerling potatoes in the grocery store and growing your own gourmet potatoes.  That's all it took because I LOVE the little fingerlings cut in small pieces...drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt...and roasted. I don't buy them often because they're expensive for the amount you get, but they really are delicious.

So, on my next visit to Publix I purchased the little delicasies and set a few of each variety aside to develop eyes. Next, we cut them into small pieces...each with at least one eye, created a nice mound of dirt and buried them about mid-way into the mound before the end of February.

Near the end of May, my impatience was getting to me and I started to dig around to see if there were truly any potatoes growing down deep in the compost-enhanced soil. And, guess what? Much to my jublilation there was! :-)

Had I waited until the green tops of the plants died...the sign that your potatoes are ready for harvest...I most likely would have reaped a little larger bounty, and some of the smaller potatoes would have grown larger. That's why "they" always say, "patience is a virtue." But, nonetheless, I was very pleased with our harvest and we enjoyed two meals of roasted gourmet potatoes for a cheap price.

With one success under the belt, I'm going to grow them again this fall, but this time...I promise...I'll be more patient and wait until they're ready for harvest. So, if you, too, love these potatoes...give them a try. They were super easy...no pests...I only fertilized them once and watered regularly. One note of interest though...it takes awhile for the potato sprouts to emerge from the ground. For a while I thought the experiment was going to be a bust, but then the sprouts emerged and grew quickly after that.


Kimberly said...

Susan..you got my attention! When are you going to plant? This seems to be an issue with me and veggies...I've not figured out the right time to plant veggies down here. I have a mental block or something. I'm going to give veggies a try this fall and potatoes will be on the list!

Rainforest Gardener said...

I'm creating an in-situ compost heap in my garden and I read that potatoes are good cover crops... I'll have to make this my big to do when all the frost is depressing me next February! Those look absolutely delicious!

NanaK said...

I want to do this too. You make those potatoes look so inviting. I love the fingerlings and to grow my own would be really fun. Your experiment was a success.

Floridagirl said...

Ooh, that looks yummy! The kids and I accidentally grew russet potatoes a couple of years ago. My mom taught me ages ago to take a spade and dig a little hole between plants to put kitchen scraps in as you get them. Lazy man's way of composting. One day, I realized I had a bunch of potatoes with eyes, and asked the kids to go bury them around my sunny border. Before long, I had this very non-weedy-looking weed coming up in several places. Then I realized what it was. When they were ready, I pulled them up, and we had beautiful potatoes. No kidding. True story.

Ami said...

That sounds a fun project I want to try too! I need to plan for the fall season NOW! lol

ChrisC said...

Oh I am so gonna try that this fall.We,too,love them cooked the same way.

Susan said...

Kimberly...I checked in Tom MacCubbin's book and he says to plant potatoes in Sept-Oct and then again in February. I wish you much success. They were really easy.

Rainforest Gardener...They were delicious! The green plants were pretty and will look nice in the midst of winter...at least they'll be green. :-)

Kay...It was fun and I'll bet your grandchildren will have lots of fun digging for them. Good luck!

FloridaGirl...I totally believe you and can see how that would happen. I've had pumpkin vines grow where an old pumpkin rotted away.

Ami...Welcome back from China! You're right about starting your planning now. Late August & September are not that far away. I look forward to hearing more about your trip.

Chris...It's such a simple & easy way to fix them, but, oh so good. My 2nd favorite way to fix them is boiled, tumbled in butter and sprinkled with parsley and salt. Good luck!

Rhonda said...

I agree with Kimberly. I'm trying to figure out the schedule for planting vegetables in Florida. Let us know when you are putting in the potatoes in the fall.

Susan said...

Hi Rhonda...I checked in Tom MacCubbin's book and he said to plant potatoes from September through October, so mark it on your calendar and get ready for a tasty treat.

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