Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I have Potato!

Yes, our potato harvest was just as pathetic as our tomato harvest (I have Tomato!).  Although in our defense, the seed potatoes that were planted only numbered around half-dozen, and were “volunteers” from our store-bought taters that sprouted eyes (and arms, and legs….sometimes I forget about the potatoes and they start migrating across kitchen floor).
Earlier this spring, Paul scraped up a little patch of dirt, put down a tractor tire, laid the seed potatoes down, and covered it with straw.  We watered them throughout the summer and they sent up some vines.  Which eventually were nibbled to nubs by either the deer or the grasshopper army we had this summer.
Anyhow, Paul called me outside one day last week (or was it the week before?) to show me our potato harvest.  I was pretty excited to see what our little experiment yielded and walked out to this:

Yes, those are potatoes.  One red and one Yukon gold.  I think that the original seed potatoes were twice the size of our harvest. 
Was I disappointed?  Yup.  Who wouldn’t be?  Was I surprised?  Not really.  Well, maybe a little bit.  I was hoping for at least enough potatoes for a side dish that evening.
So, was it something we did wrong?  Did we not water enough?  Not put enough stray / hay on top?  Made the mistake by using grocery-store ‘taters?  Or was it just another crop decimated by the heat and drought this year?
Whatever the reason, at least we didn’t spend any money on “real” seed potatoes, nor lots of time taking care of them.  Although I was hoping to try growing them again next year. 
Does anyone grow their own potatoes using store-bought (meaning those meant for the dinner plate) potatoes that started growing eyes?  And which method do you use?  We’re liking the idea of growing them in stacked tires as we have an almost limitless supply of them and wasted hay, and the fact that we’d have to dig a trench with the backhoe if we planted them in the ground.
Any and all ‘tater tending comments are appreciated! 

PS - Don't forget to enter the "White Trash Cookbook" giveaway!  I'll be drawing the lucky winner Thursday night.


  1. We grew potatoes from store bought one year in a REALLY big bucket. We started with a little dirt in the bottom, added the potatoes and then covered with more dirt. As the plants grew, we covered them with more dirt until the bucket was full. The idea was that, at the end of the season, the bucket would be full of potatoes. We did get enough for one dinner but I was a little disappointed. I've been told since that the potatoes from the store have been treated to NOT sprout as easily which helps them keep longer so if you want to grow potatoes successfully, you need to buy seed potatoes. That's on my list for next year! :)

  2. I grew most of my potatoes from grocery store taters...I used organic since I have heard that regular potatoes are sprayed with chemicals that delay their sprouting...

  3. I have grown potatoes from sprouted grocery store potatoes and had nice big potatoes. The best way is to start with seed potatoes and then save the tiny ones from that harvest for next year.

    I am not impressed with the straw method. Try filling a loosely dug raised bed next year, make a trench about 6 inches deep, cover with loosely mounded dirt....then when they are up about 3 inches, fill around them with straw mulch.

  4. I've never grown potatoes in tires or used store-bought starters so I'm not any help there. I plant them in our field garden by just taking a hoe and making a trench about 6" deep and placing an "eye" about every 12". I always experiment covering some with mulch and some with dirt. (For some reason, hubby continues to think the mulched will do better but we always get bigger yields from those hilled up with dirt.) I will admit mulching is easier than hilling them two or three times. One thing we can grow way up here near the tundra is root crops so we usually get great yields from the taters.

  5. Looks like you'd better add lots of onions to your potato salad to "bulk it up" a bit. :)

    I've never grown potatoes, but we plan to eventually.

    Thanks for the smile today.

  6. I grow potatoes exclusively in tires, as I inherited stacks of them from the previous owners of my property. I have not used store-bought potatoes because there's never enough info to make me feel comfortable (pesticides used? farm workers peeing in the fields?) So I've used seed potatoes that I buy from sources I trust. I've used leaf mulch, straw/hay, and organic potting soil. The best crop was this year, using a mixture of organic potting soil, llama beans and a little left over generic soil on top. I did have to water them during the very hot days, but I didn't have to soak them or anything. I also used a potato "bag", which was even better, as you can dump the dirt/potatoes out. Those may be small taters, but they sure are cute!

  7. a couple things could have kept your taters from producing, but my guess is that your store bought potatoes were sprayed with a growth inhibitor like a prior poster said. All those other things like water and mulch help but my guess is the spray

  8. Our potatoes flopped this year, too. We had too much rain, then too much heat, then too much rain. We have grown them from store bought but it's been years ago and I imagine that was before the inhibitor was used. The stacked tires worked really well for my grandpa every year that he planted them!

  9. I'm hoping to get our taters dug this coming week, but from what I've found just poking around out there, it wasn't a great year.

    Do you have RFD or co-ops where you are? You can usually buy seed potatoes by the pound, or a full 50lb bag if you want a LOT for winter.

  10. Um, your potato harvest looks about like ours. I used purchased seed potatoes for my fingerling bed, and red pontiacs saved from last year's harvest for the remainder. None of them did very well at all. I'm going to take notes on all the comments you're getting, in hopes of picking up my pointers myself.

  11. I use store potatoes that sprout eyes. We did ok for new potatoes. Next time I want to try purchased seed potatoes. We planted ours in dirt (I remember someone doing an experiment with dirt vs. straw and the dirt won out). I think you do need to water well (think about how much water is in a freshly cut potato) and keep hilling the dirt up over most of the plant it puts up. I hope to have a bigger bed of them next year.

  12. I have used the store bought before as a fill in. They do ok, but not as good as seed taters. I always hate to let them go to waste :)