Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Spuds for Christmas
At the beginning of October we planted our first ever potatoes. After posting about it, Greenfumb left the comment “Good luck with your first crop, nothing nicer than homegrown spuds on Christmas day.” Reading this comment got me quite excited. But I was unsure whether Greenfumb was just making a general statement about her like of spuds or whether she was indicating when ours were likely to be ready. Living in hope, while doing the Christmas food shopping I took the chance and didn’t buy any. The day before Christmas a called the children into the garden and got them to start digging. To theirs and my excitement they came out baring golden and bronze treasure.
So despite majority being small in size we did indeed have fresh home grown spuds for Christmas dinner, and the consensus at the dinner table was that they were indeed superb. So it does go to show what a difference homegrown and/or fresh makes regards to taste.
I must admit I felt a child like joy when I joined the children in the harvesting. The experience was so different from harvesting a fruiting vegetable like tomatoes that you have watched develop. Potato harvesting really did feel like digging for treasure. We didn’t harvest the lot, only what we needed and left the plants intact being careful not to disturb them too much. So I hope we will get some more before the plants die back. Anyone know when that is likely to occur?
The potatoes growing in sacks we left alone as harvesting would spell an end to them. I am curious to see what the total yield is using this approach.
I gave the technique of mounding dirt around the plant to increase yield a go but found it required allot of extra soil. So only ended up with a very little hill. Pulling soil from the surrounding area I found difficult due to mulch and other plants in the bed. I could have got some soil brought in but was unsure what I would do with it once the potatoes had finished with it. I would be interested to know more about what other people do.
The plants also took up allot more space than expected. Their branches tend to run outwards along the ground and as you can see this bed has very little room for anything else. Growing in sacks definitely solves this. I wonder if I should have been cropping them back when they started pushing other developing plants over.
In summary growing potatoes has been a very easy and rewarding exercise. Despite being quite cheep to purchase I would highly recommend growing them even if just for that special Christmas treat.