Let’s talk a little bit more about growing spuds, because there’s always something new to learn! Potatoes are classified by their harvest times. The different groups are:
- First Earlies
- Second Earlies
- Main Crop
- Late Main Crop
We’re right at the end of Main Crop Potato season! For a main crop variety, we grew a bed full of Pink Fir Apple potatoes. They were planted on Friday, April 9, 2010, and we started lifting them about two weeks ago. They’re pretty good, but not my favorite. They had tough acts to follow, because our first and second earlies (Duke of York and Maris Peer, respectively) were such tasty buggers. Pink Fir Apple is the easiest to clean by far, as the soil just slides away under water, and I haven’t found any major scabbing on the shiny skin.
We’ve saved a few spuds of each variety for seed, despite all of the commercial warnings that saving your own seed potato is dangerous nowadays. All potatoes sold as “seed potatoes” have been treated with a fungicide. Since we don’t want to treat our plants, we will take our chances with disease, and save our own. Hopefully I don’t die of blight. Lots of gardening old timers do it, and they’re still around! Anyway, to save your own, you will just want to expose your dug up potatoes to light for a few days to encourage dormancy. Then, store them over winter in a cool, dry, dark, and well ventilated place away from frost. A home basement is the ideal potato storing facility.
Unfortunately, we never planted a late main crop variety, so after this bed of Pink Fir Apples, we will be back onto the store bought varieties. Next year, we’ll have to plan for a late main crop, and perhaps a few more beds. That way, we can store them into the winter and become self sufficient with our own vegan organic potatoes!!
We’re still on potato and kale this weekend. The cropping is heavy, and with only two busy little sometimes-farmers living here, we will need to eat these crops until we explode. I shouldn’t complain- there could be worse things than having piles of vegan-organic food around! We’ve still got two beds full of potatoes, having gone through our first two. I estimate that each plant produced about five medium sized potatoes. We fit about 12 plants in each of our beds, and I reckon one whole bed has produced about 4 kilos of potatoes. It’s possible that we over watered our potatoes, and thus reduced our yield. I read in a gardening book that potatoes only need water once every two weeks in drier times, and we were watering nearly every day! I guess it’s just another one I will have to experiment with next year.
Anyway, no longer are we eating chowder, but instead 2 separate dinners of sauteed kale and olive oil-baked potatoes.
We also got to sample our green beans for the first time ever, last night! They’re just coming into season, so we don’t have a bean glut yet. Right now, there’s only a precious few to steam.
As for the kale, tonight I cooked it with the remains of some store-bought green curry paste in my fridge. It consisted of garlic, green chilli, onion, lemon grass, salt, galangal, kaffir lime peel, fennel seed, coriander, and pepper. I added it with some water several minutes after starting the kale stalks and onion. I also added thinly sliced carrots and soaked apricots (soaked in boiling water for 5+ minutes). Last night I had a basic onion and kale saute with mustard seeds, and I added tahini dressing at the end.
Both nights, the potatoes were sliced, brought to a boil for a few minutes, quickly added to a sizzling pan coated in olive oil, and transferred to the hot oven, where they baked for 15 minutes.