Homegrown potatoes were new to the garden last year and yum…what an eye-opener!
I grew 6 different varieties of potatoes – Yukon Gold, Caribe, Roko, Linzer Delikatess, Viking and Bintze. Other than the Yukon Gold, I had never tasted any of the others. Different types of potato are amenable to different cooking methods and I kept a cheat sheet in the kitchen so that I could keep all of that straight. If I needed a baking potato, I reached for a Caribe or Viking, but if I wanted a potato that would stand up amazingly well in the slow cooker (even in 8-9 hour stews!), I would grab some Rokos.
|Viking (left) & Yukon Gold (right)|
I also set aside a bunch of seed potatoes from each variety. These I boxed up in shredded paper to give them the best chance of getting through until planting time in the spring.
|November 2015 - Seed potatoes before they were topped with|
more shredded paper & placed in the cold cellar
With only a few weeks left until my outdoor planting date, I finally took a look at my seed potatoes back in mid-March:
|The reveal on March 17|
|March 17 - Viking (left) and Bintz (right)|
|March 17 - Roko (left) and Linzer (right)|
|Yukon Gold (bottom and Caribe (top)|
So not great, but not horrible either. Last year, I purchased seed potato rather late in the season from a local store & planted out spuds that looked very similar:
|Viking seed potatoes:|
A bit shriveled & severely sprouting but
still gave me a great harvest last year
|April 6 - Viking (left) and Bintje (right)|
Now on to the eating potatoes. Over the winter, I have been grabbing the open box potatoes for the kitchen while the box of properly packed, Yukon Gold potatoes has remained untouched. It was time for the next reveal:
|Yukon Gold - April 6|
Now for surprise #1. This is what the potatoes that I simply bunged into a box look like:
|Roko - April 6|
And surprise #2. These are potatoes from the farm I volunteer at that also received the “bung into a box and leave in the cold cellar” treatment:
|Farm Potatoes - April 6|
So perhaps it’s a matter of variety. There was, however, one other difference in how the farm potatoes were treated which may also have made the difference. All of the potatoes from the farm were washed while the potatoes I stored from my garden were not – any excess soil was simply rubbed off. My thought was that the less the potatoes were disturbed after harvesting, the better - doesn't look like this is the case. This year, I’ll likely wash my harvest before placing it in storage. At the very least, washing doesn't seem to hurt them at all and it certainly makes for less messy prep in the kitchen.
The Bottom Line: All of the potatoes did ok, especially considering the warm winter we had - only one of the Linzers that I was saving for seed shriveled up and had to be tossed. Had temperatures been normal, I'm confident that sprouting would have been minimal or non-existent all the way around.
So it looks like I will be able to (1) add potatoes to the list of homegrown veg that we will enjoy almost year round and (2) store my own seed potato. Very exciting indeed! Now if only the weather would warm up already so that I can get my poor seed potatoes into the ground...