RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Growing Potatoes

Summertime!

Color wheel at The Raincatcher’s Garden

Bog sage

Annette, Gail, Kathy and others have turned the color wheel into a spectacular sight. If you haven’t taken time to enjoy the wonder of the north garden, take a walk through it and check out the color wheel (love the bog sage in the blues!), the tomatoes in our tomato trial, and the beautiful flowers in the pollinator garden.

Did you know we harvested 17 pounds of red potatoes and  35 pounds of potatoes June 5th?

Our orchard looks wonderful this year with Champanel grapes in abundance and thriving fruit trees, and those daylilies in the mixed border are blooming like crazy.

Champanel grapes,one of our peaches and harvested potatoes!

Lisa Centala

Pictures by Starla Willis

Perfectly Planted Potatoes Premiers

     Just in time for the Oscars:  Potatoes take center stage on the red carpet in this exclusive short video.  It features our own Jim Dempsey, nominated for Best Instructor, and Starla Willis, nominated for Best Cinematographer. Good luck to both!

And… if you want more information about growing potatoes, check out “One Potato, Two Potato, Hopefully More” and “Fried Green Potatoes.”

Carolyn

Video by Starla

 

Fried “Green Potatoes?”

 If you are a southerner, you probably know that unripe, green tomatoes, when fried or made into chutney, can be a culinary delight.  However, green potatoes?  AVOID THEM!!

 

Neon Green Potato from Carolyn's Garden, Not Photo Shopped! Beware, Even Green Tinged Potatoes Should not be Eaten.

Neon Green Potato from Carolyn’s Garden, Not Photo Shopped! Beware, Even Green Tinged Potatoes Should not be Eaten.

Now is the time that many vegetable gardeners are harvesting the potatoes that they planted in late January-February.  If, as recommended, you have been hilling up soil against the stem of the potato or kept adding soil and compost to a potato bin, the odds are good that you will not find any “green” potatoes.  However, if the ever-growing bunches of potatoes have managed to heave themselves out of the ground and are exposed to sunlight or if the potatoes have been exposed to extremes of heat or cold — beware.  Those greenish potatoes can be potentially deadly.   In fact, even potatoes brought from the store, if not properly stored in a cool, dry, dark place, can develop a greenish tint if exposed to too much light.

The greenish hue that can be found on potatoes exposed to light is actually chlorophyll.  Not a bad thing, you say, because we eat chlorophyll in many leafy greens.  However in the potato, the presence of chlorophyll also indicates the presence of solanine, a glycoalkaloid poison found in species of nightshade.  This bitter nerve toxin crystalline alkaloid is part of the plant’s defense against insects, disease, and predators.  It is found primarily in the stems and leaves of potatoes but can also be found on any green spots on the skin of a potato and on buds.

Solanine interferes with the body’s ability to transmit impulses between cells.  Ingested in large enough quantities, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and even paralysis of the central nervous system.  Though an average adult would have to eat a very large quantity of green tinged potatoes (which are often quite bitter, a good warning sign) to have neurological damage, children may be more susceptible to ill effects.  In general, it is probably best to throw away any potatoes that have green eyes, sprouts, or greenish skins.

As B. Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulturist at Purdue University says: “The next time you see a green potato, be thankful for that color change.  It’s warning you of the presence of toxic solanine.”

Carolyn

Picture by Carolyn

More info about potatoes :

Vegetable Planting in January

One Potato, Two Potato, Hopefully More

 

 

 

 

A Better Mouse Trap?

     Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.”  However, if the Garden’s potato experiments are any indication, maybe those tried and true methods for growing potatoes really do work the best.  Perhaps sometimes there really isn’t a better mouse trap, but it’s still fun to experiment.

The Garden’s January 25, 2013 blog “One Potato, Two Potato, Hopefully More”  described several different methods of growing potatoes, including the old time “trench” method, last year’s “trash can” method, and this year’s “potato bin” method.  Guess which method produced the most and largest potatoes?  Yes, it was the trench method used by generations of farmers to grow potatoes.

As you can see by the pictures, the potatoes grown in trenches in the Garden’s raised bed were larger and many more were harvested.

Our Potatoes Grown Trench Style

The potatoes grown in this year’s newly constructive bin where slats could be added to the side of the bin and filled with soil as the potato plants grew, did well, but produced smaller and fewer potatoes than those grown in trenches.

Smaller and Fewer Potatoes

One reason for this, DCMG Jim Dempsey hypothesized, might have been that the potatoes grown in the raised beds in trenches were on a drip system, while those in the slatted bin received water only once a week.

Never one to give up easily (and who knows, someone may really invent a better mouse trap), Jim said that next year the slatted bin will be moved to a place where it too can be on the drip system and receive more water. The experiment continues………

Do you have your own methods for growing potatoes?  And how did your potatoes do this year?  Let us know.  We would love to hear from you.

Carolyn

Pictures by Starla

%d bloggers like this: