Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Harvesting my potatoes

I must say, aside from garlic, these were some of the most unforgettable of all the produce I've grown: my new potatoes. They are all already gone. Each and every doughy, delectable spud.

Like I said before, to plant potatoes you cut up a potato from a farm supply store into little pieces. Each piece must have at least one eye. Then, bury them 4 or 5 inches into the ground. Then, wait. Soon, a little purple flower pops up. And then, green leaves grow and grow.

It's not like beans or broccoli or lettuce, where you can watch the vegetable from sprout to plate. It all happens underground. You can't see whether they are there or not, what size they are, or what color they are. You just have to have faith.

Officially, the plant needs to be dead in order to harvest the potatoes. Only one of my plants was dead looking: this one.

But I wanted to some tomatoes in their place ASAP, so I went ahead and pulled them all, even the ones that still looked mostly green.

First, I just pulled the plant out of the ground, and along with the root system came a couple of potatoes. 

After you pull the plant, more potatoes are hanging around the surface just waiting to be plucked.

In total, I harvested about 4 lbs. and donated half that. Here are my beauties:

I boiled a batch and served them as part of a Mother's Day feast for 4. Then, roasted, they helped complete a more casual dinner for 3 this week. They had almost a dough-like quality, like a really dense, buttery muffin. Incredible.

Tip: they lose that special doughyness when served as leftovers. Do your best to eat what you cook (this is not hard). Then cook more fresh later on. The slight doughyness is really what makes them special. You really must experience it in every precious meal you're lucky enough to make with them.

I  cannot wait to do this again next year.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sharing the bounty

Today I harvested a record total of 13 pounds. And my plot is only about the size of two kitchen tables! 

We gardeners all must donate half the produce we grow. Which I am happy to do. So, this is what I'm taking to charity this evening. 

                                                                                    9 pounds of beauty.

                              And now, my next challenge: what do to with my share of the bounty...

I usually chop up swiss chard and sauté it with a little vinegar, oil, and garlic, but I'm thinking a special Mother's Day recipe is in order. I wonder what I can find in my cookbooks.

Now, no doubt you saw the little red potatoes up in the first photo, which I have yet to mention. I know, so exciting! They are here! More on that event up next...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Potatoes, potatoes, coming right up

I've been going to the garden daily lately to water seeds and get them to sprout. I should probably just get the job done quickly, but I usually end up staying longer than necessary because truly, I'm in love with my garden and I love to examine everything and admire it.

I planted red potatoes a few months ago. Like garlic, they require patience because you can't see the actual potatoes grow--you just see these green leaves. 

Don't get me wrong--watching the leaves grow has been exciting. To grow potatoes, you have to bury little potato pieces pretty far down in the ground. It's hard to believe that you will ever see them again. And then one day like magic, a little flower appears.

Still, you don't get to watch the actual potatoes grow. You don't know what's happening under there, month after month. You just have to trust.

Potatoes can be harvested when their leaves start dying. I've been keeping a close lookout for this.

Yesterday, I was certain one of the green bushes had turned the corner. So, I cheated a little and started digging around.

I did not have to dig far. Just beyond a thin dusting of soil sat two fat little dark-red potatoes!

That is what I love about the garden. You never know what surprises await you.

Like any good cheater, I hid the evidence and put the soil back on top of them.

But the potato harvest is coming...