On a whim (and pure laziness) I’ve been using my Earthtainers as compost bins, putting whatever I can in them, occasionally stirring and planting my leeks, creeping thyme, mums and other odds and ends as I find them.
So a few months ago the old and wrinkled spuds I put in there mostly broke down, but some sprouted. I put green bamboo stakes next to the seedlings and used some clamps to hold the plants steady.
They grew quite fast, much to my amusement, now in August the potato plants are just over five feet tall (from ground to tip – includes Earthtainer). The plants themselves are about 4 feet…
I’ve even had a neighbour ask what they were, asking if they were flowers… he was impressed when I grinned and said “Nope, they’ve got pretty flowers but they’re actually potatoes”
(we talked about the different kinds of potatoes – red, gold, white, peanut/fingerling, purple…)
Anyways, I decided to root around (heh) the first few inches of soil and found some surprisingly large potatoes – all red right now, the purple potatoes in there are slower to grow (but getting there – I found some still-attached little ones).
Sometimes minimalistic input pays off more than fretting and fussing (which is what I usually do).
On the subject of potatoes, I put some in my side garden as well, and there were a few lurkers from last year that popped up.
Working on a theory that the more room for roots the better I cut the bottom out of a square pot and plunked it over the strongest one… it happened to be in the middle of the back of my patch, so the look of it was a bonus.
I then filled in the container about two inches, reaching deep into the new soil (half compost, half sandy soil) to scratch at the old (mixing the two and breaking up any surface compaction). Topped off the container, watered it in twice and then mostly ignored it.
It grew reasonably well, flowered and died back as it’s supposed to. I was putting off digging it up so the skins could thicken.
About a month ago my landlady decided to help me in my garden and take the dead “flower” out – lifting the pot up and out… I guess she didn’t notice the two fingerling/peanut potatoes dropping on the ground… the roots held the soil in.
I came out a couple hours later and stared at the “dead flower” in a pot in confusion, then flipped it onto it’s side – there, clearly visible, were two potatoes. I dug around and got a nice handful, grabbed my shovel and shoes and dug up the rest… picking up the dropped ones as a final cleanup.
They didn’t last long – I cooked them up with some garlic butter. Yum.
As for the red potatoes I gathered today? Making some potato and hard boiled egg salad with them. … it should make a double or triple recipe.
I wonder if it freezes well… Anyone know?