Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New Potatoes = Christmas in the Ground

So I'm definitely getting into this gardening thing. It's so much fun to plant something in the ground, watch it grow, and then be able to eat it. Last summer, we planted a huge summer garden full of purple hull peas, lima beans, squash, and zucchini. Once the plants had made all they were going to make, we pulled up all the plants, tilled the ground, and planted our winter garden. Josh planted cabbage, kale, and mustard greens. We had enough mustard greens to feed the town we live in. I kick myself when I think about them now because I didn't pick nearly enough to put up for us to eat over the year. I put up a lot, but not as many as I could have. We did end up with about 12 heads of cabbage and they tasted so great! We gave lots of stuff away and once everything was through making, we pulled everything up for the next round of potatoes. Planting potatoes was a new experience for me and it was so much fun. No, really it was! 

In February we went to our local co-op (farm store) and bought about $15 worth of seed potatoes. We planted them and then just sat back and waited. It was that easy! Before we knew it, pretty greens leaves were sprouting out of the ground. They got bigger and bigger. At one point, we dug up one plant to see if it had started to make any potatoes and I was so bummed when I saw that it didn't have any. I actually started to worry then that all these green plants weren't going to produce anything. Our good friend, Clare, just told us to be patient and they would make when it was time. So we waited...and waited...and waited...

Then one day after the plants started making blooms, we dug one up and LOOK! We had potatoes!! It was the best surprise ever. I couldn't wait to dig up more, but Josh told me we had to wait longer so the plants would make more and even bigger potatoes.

So we waited some more..

And a couple more weeks passed.

I told Josh that growing potatoes was equivalent to waiting to open gifts for Christmas...TORTURE. Normally, I'm a very patient person when it comes to waiting for our plants to produce. But everything else we've ever grown we've been able to see on the surface whether it was ready or not. Potatoes are a completely different ballgame. It's all happening underneath the surface and I was dying to dig them up.

Finally, I couldn't take it any longer. The potato plants were ready enough and I was anxious to dig them up. Not to mention we needed to get our summer garden in very soon too (that's the excuse I gave Josh). It was time! Yes, I know the potato plants would have kept making more and more potatoes, but they had far exceeded the limits of my patience. Josh came home from work one day and found me in the process of digging up the potatoes. It was so much fun! Each little plant was such a surprise as to how many potatoes it had underneath it. It was like getting to open 50 little presents :) We ended up with about 100 pounds of new potatoes. Each plant we dug up had about 15 little baby potatoes on it. Had we (I) waited a couple more weeks we probably would have more than doubled our harvest, but 100 pounds is definitely plenty! 

I sorted the potatoes and they are currently on the floors of two of my closets in my house. Yes, I'm 32 years old and I have potatoes in my closet. HAHA! Everyone said that they'll keep as long as you keep them in a cool and dark place. We've already enjoyed so many yummy meals with potatoes as a side dish and I can't wait for more. I love gardening! 

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