One Potato, Two Potato, Three Zillion Potato More!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

....and in other news, authorities are still looking for the Natomas husband and wife buried under a potato harvest they were not expecting....

It's harvest time in a big way in the Backyard of Bird. From tomatoes to onions to garlic, everything is coming up roses this year, and in a big and massive way. I know you might be surprised to find out that this is our first year of growing potatoes in the Back 40. It probably won't be the last.

Potatoes anyone?

The potatoes in the sack to your right represent about one-third of our harvest a few days ago. Each sack is loaded with about 25 lbs. of "All Blue" and "Cranberry Red" potatoes that we harvested from a 4X8 foot raised bed. Venus planted exactly one pound of seed potatoes each last March. That two pound investment paid off in record numbers.

We knew we were both in for something special when we stuck the new pitchfork underneat the first plant and lifted up. I could not believe the size of these monsters. Would every plant yield this kind of harvest? That answer would be NO. Some were even better!

The Cranberry Red provided the biggest potatoes. The "All Blue" were somewhat smaller, about the size of a normal sack of potatoes that you would purchase at a normal grocery store. But those plants also contained greater numbers of potatoes, so the per-pound harvest was about the same.

We both knew we were in for something special when we started harvesting potatoes that had popped to the surface about two weeks earlier. We've been harvesting three or four pounds each for the past week -- just utilizing those that had poked above the soil line. But we never quite expected the surprises uncovered when we started digging up the bed.

This was one massive harvest. And while that is a good thing, the big question is what are two people going to do with 75 lbs. of potatoes? Can you store them? Where? How? We needed some experienced advice.

Some of that advice came from my gardening mentor, Farmer Fred Hoffman, and still others in the gardening internet community that have grown, and are still growing, potatoes. We discovered that the garage would be sufficient for potato storage, but we were going to need some burlap sacks.

Burlap sacks? Are those still sold? Where? Home Depot didn't have them. Neither did Lowe's or any other helpful/handy hardware and gardening supply business. But, as luck would have it, Venus stumbled across exactly what we needed at an East Sacramento Feed Store of all places. Here she is, proudly modeling the only clothing I will allow her to buy.

As one of my many gardening buddies remarked, "well, burlap is all the rage in Paris this year..."

Venus has already used some of the harvest on a Red, White & Blue potato salad, which we served to multiple friends and family members during the 4th of July. And we'll probably be snacking on leftovers for the rest of the week (the celebration is spelled out in the post below).

As for right now, Bill Bird is on a search for potato recipes. Got potatoes?


Anonymous said...

I was hoping you'd post up your potatoes. I am also growing them for the first time. I'm using the bury as they grow and have added about 18" extra of soil. I am no longer adding and hopefully the plants will flower soon and dies away. I planted mine around the first of april. Really love following the progress of your garden. I've gardened for over 20 years but was mostly a tomato, squash, and hot pepper person. I strted cool season vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and brocolli this year. Also onions, eggplant and more bell peppers. From folowing your blog I think I'll add garlic and maybe an asparagus plant or two. Congratulations on your bountiful harvest.


Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Looks good you 2! Ive not tried Potatos! Im still a learning Gardener! My third year for a garden, my biggest one yet! Maybe potatos are in next years future. Nice post, I enjoy reading all you have to share!

Fred Hoffman said...

Bill Bird is a writer!

Bruce Ross said...

By "last March" do you mean four months ago? Or 2008?

Planted spuds -- just a few from the market that had sprouted eyes under the counter -- a few years back. A worm stripped one vine down to the skeletal stems, while the other was jungle-lush. Guess which one produced potatoes.

By the way, Bill, we up here in the deep north woods are a little slow to catch up on the big-city media, but I happened to pick up a copy of Sacramento magazine at the gym this evening and saw your recipe for tomato martinis. Now that's good stuff.

Bill Bird said...


Big City Media? HO! HO! HO! You'll be pleasantly surprised should you and Kimmy decide to join us in the Big City by the River someday. I had almost forgotten about the Sacramento Magazine interview. That took place last March. It was really the first indication I had that people other than immediate family were following the blog.

Ldswoman said...

What I've done with potatoes lately is dehydrate them in slices. Very cool. My plan is to grow lots of potatoes on day and dry the whole bunch. :)