Kitchen Scrap Gardening: Potatoes

  

Short version

If you find a potato, yam, or sweet potato that has eyes that have started to grow here is a great way to turn them into more food. 

Cut a chunk of potato with an eye, the knobby bit on a potato usually in a dimple. I find about 1″ square or a small whole potato is enough. 

Let it dry for about 8 hours. 

Plant 4″ deep or so with at least 4″ under it. 

Indoors, on a patio, or other limited space a potato sack and dirt works well to grow in. 

Indoors you can use a plastic tub to put the bag in to avoid silt and water on your floors. 

Potatoes love coffee grounds. 

Don’t wash potatoes before storing them.

The story behind the photo.

This 8×4 foot bed of potatoes started as cuttings from a few early sprouters and 1 custom ordered seed potato 3 years ago. That year I ordered piles of seeds. All organic, heirloom, nonGMO, from a great seed company in BC. 

I ordered so many that when it came time to add potatoes to my cart I only had enough for the small assorted pack. 1-2 small seed potatoes of 5 different varieties. 

I was determined not to buy any more potatoes. With visions of complete self sufficiency I cut the sprouting parts off any potatoes I came across and planted them. Starting indoors in a large bag of soil poured into a potato sack in Mid February and eventually moving to the garden in late May. 

The 1/2″-1″ chunks grew beautifully, and they grew best if I left them out over night first.

By the end of fall I had red and Yukon potatoes everywhere! That fall I traded potatoes to everyone who was willing to swap, and still ended up with piles to freeze (grilled, mashed, stuffed) and eat fresh.

I kept the special order and kitchen scrap potatoes separate the first year but stopped paying attention when I realized they were all crossing anyways. 

I’ve tried this with yams and sweet potatoes and they also worked wonderfully. Sweet potatoes have really pretty foliage and make nice looking house plants, that you can dig up and eat. 

Year 3 and they are still going strong. I’m ready to add sweet potatoes to the mix again this year. 

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