Potato Harvest

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.

boots

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.

digging.jpg

sebagos in ground

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!

Sebago - Good 'all rounder' including frying - 11.6kg

Sebago – Good ‘all rounder’ including frying – 11.6kg

Kipfler - Good for steaming and boiling - 5.1kg

Kipfler – Good for steaming and boiling – 5.1kg

Dutch Cream - My favourite for mashing - 9.9kg

Dutch Cream – My favourite for mashing – 9.9kg

Desiree - Good 'all rounder' except frying - 20.2kg

Desiree – Good ‘all rounder’ except frying – 20.2kg

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.

spade

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10 thoughts on “Potato Harvest

  1. Patty Mejia Burke

    Ooh, those potatoes look heavenly! Makes me want to go outdoors and dig…but living in SW Missouri in January, I wouldn’t be able to dig a hole! Perhaps in the spring? Best wishes on your at-home future and on your upcoming baby! Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Reply
  2. greeningofgavin

    What a bumper harvest Michael. I will be expanding my spud crop next year due to my success this season. Looks like you have it down pat, and have a good supply for the winter.

    Gav

    Reply
    1. suburbandigs Post author

      Cheers Gavin, I can’t offer much advice – only to dig in lots of chook manure into the bed when planting, and keep the soil damp through the entire growing season. They seemed to mostly look after themselves beyond that. Actually, my biggest difficulty seems to be around keeping the green stalks from falling over in a windy spring storm and killing the growth early. This time around I set up some tomato stakes around the bed and tied up some rope around the boundary to offer the plants just a bit more support. I think it helped, but they still fell over and died off early in the middle of the bed. I’ll probably put something more sophisticated in next year and see how that goes.

      Reply
  3. Melissa LeGette

    This is fabulous, Michael! ”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.” I couldn’t agree with you more. My family farm grows a lot of potatoes — it’s one of our major crops and we’re still learning about them. Growing lots of variety has been a key for us as each year one or two just aren’t in the mood to produce. I noticed that your potatoes are the yellow/white flesh varieties. Have you ever tried the purple or pink flesh ones? They have high amounts of antioxidants (I can never remember which ones) and are very fun.

    Happy eating!

    Reply
  4. ethicalliving2013

    I grew up on home grown spuds and I agree, they’re so much nicer than the polished ones you get from the shops. Wish I had the space too! How do you store them and how long will they keep?

    Reply
    1. suburbandigs Post author

      Hi there – In the past we’ve just stored them in a large plastic tub in a dark, cool room and ensure we’re using any of the suspicious looking ones first. They seemed to last until early August this way – but we have to knock off some serious eye sprouts by this time. 🙂 I’ve heard of putting them back in a burrow in the ground and they’ll keep cooler and darker that way. I might be giving that a go this year because I’m anticipating some pretty hectic storage issues with this new baby joining us soon… 🙂

      Reply

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