Potatoes. I only started growing them two years ago. Prior to that I had been discouraged from growing them because I read a statement that went something like “…as potatoes are commonly found in supermarkets and are generally quite cheap, there is no point to growing your own.”
How wrong that was.
I’m going to make a bold counter-statement. “The difference between the supermarket potato and the potato you grow in your backyard is just as dramatic as a tomato purchased at the store, verses your freshly picked from the backyard type.” Yep, seriously.
Once you go home-grown, those tasteless, unidentifiable, brushed potatoes in the bag that never mash properly no matter how long you boil them, are out of your life, for good.
As potato plants are frost sensitive, the trick is to plant them so the tender green shoots don’t breech the soil before the late spring frosts are over. In Canberra, this means I plant in early October so that by the time they’ve emerge by the end of the month, it’s a pretty certain bet.
I usually can’t help myself and start to bandicoot them for Christmas lunch, but once the plants have died back for a few weeks giving the potato skins time to harden, it’s time to dig up what’s left and see what you’ve got. It’s an exciting morning in the garden, a bit like finding buried treasure!
The total haul was 46.8kg, from 4.5 square meters of soil, or just over 10kg per sq meter. A good result. The yield from the Kipflers were disappointing this year – in the past they have performed just as well as any other variety. Perhaps you could draw a conclusion that it is worthwhile growing a diverse range so that year to year differences in the weather wont leave you with a small yield if you strike-out. Either that or I got some dud seed this season.