Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spuds & Companion Planting

Potatoes are ripe. We grow various varieties. Some do better than others. In our garden you have to make sure to pick them when the soil is rather dry, since our clayish soil is very sticky and tends to stick to the potatoes when wet. You can always wash them, but washed potatoes do not keep as well as those that are left unwashed. The ones I like best are the fingerlings.


Fingerling



They are a bother to pick, because they are so small that you risk missing many of them. In fact, this spring I did not plant any fingerlings. The ones in the picture above are the result of potatoes from last year that were overseen, left in the ground and grew this year.  In what was the fingerling bed last year, I had garlic this year, and when potatoes started coming up among the garlic plants, I decided to let both grow. They seem to work very well as companion plants growing together. The garlic is much taller, but thinner, and so enough light filtered down for the potatoes.

The fingerlings taste and look very good in potato salad, and they work beautifully for fried potatoes. Some varieties of fingerlings are rather knobbly and can be difficult to clean (they are so small, you don't want to peal them - besides, they look better unpealed).



Blue Potatoes


We grow some blue potatoes. I am not particularly keen on them, but they are supposed to be healthier because of the flavonoids that gives them their blue colour.  The main reason we grow them is that they like us! They seem somehow to be better adapted to our soil and to grow very well here. The more common varieties of potato plants grow well too, but they invariably produce very few spuds. Each plant will produce about two large potatoes. The blues are a smaller potato, but each plant will produce at least half a dozen.



11 comments:

  1. Maria is a big garlic grower - 22 varieties I think, but we've never tried inter-planting with potatoes!

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  2. What a great crop. I'm disappointed to read about the blue potatoes. I had planned to grow some next year. Not a good taste?
    We have two types in our veggie plot and are harvesting the first types now. We also grew garlic which excellent results although I want to try elephant garlic next time.

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    1. They taste fine. It is just that the colour blue on your plate requires some getting used to.

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  3. We once had two cairn terriers addicted to vegetables. They often had the first asparagus, the green peppers. It took us a while to realize who was raiding the garden. The potatoes were the favorites. They took off on a run with purloined potatoes.

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    1. We had a dog who loved strawberries. For the longest time we thought she was protecting them from birds. But I eventually realized she was checking them and eating all the ripe ones!

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  4. I once bought potatoes in larger quantities, for example, 10 kg for the winter, but now I do not do so, because quick bloom. I buy regularly as I need. Yours :) Enjoy!

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    1. It is difficult to stop them from sprouting. On the other hand, it is a good sign when they do sprout, it means that they have not been irradiated.

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  5. I wasn't aware that unwashed potatoes keep better. I've gotten used to buying washed ones at the grocery store; now I know better!

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    1. For 30 years we lived in Kitchener, which is famous for its farmer market. At the market, I noticed that some people asked for unwashed potatoes and the farmers usually had some in the back of their trucks. That is how I learned that "unwashed" was preferable!

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  6. I didn't know about unwashed either. Good hint. I have grown Russian Blue and liked them though they didn't produce very well for me. I also tried All Red, but hated the way they looked on the plate, like pale ham chunks.

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