Back in April, I wrote about potato planter bags. It’s been hard, but I’ve been patient, and today I got to harvest the first full bag of taters! Since potatoes grow underground, you have to plant them and have faith they’re doing something. Last summer we weren’t terribly successful, which just added to the suspense this year.
As a recap, the best potatoes to plant are actual seed potatoes. Grocery store potatoes can be planted, but now many growers treat them with something to prevent eyes from growing. The eyes are where they new plants originate so, no eyes, no new plants. Each seed potato should have a few eyes. Cut the potato so each eye is on a separate piece, then plant each piece. I couldn’t remember, but Charlie said he cute each of our seed potatoes into four pieces, and each bag had just four pieces, or one potato, each.
Each planter bag started with the potatoes planted in just a few inches of soil. As the plants grow, the leaves and stalks are covered with more soil. The potatoes grow from the covered stalks. Once the plant stops growing and the leaves die, the potatoes are ready to be harvested. Some of our bags are ready, but some are still growing.
I’ve cheated and pulled out a few potatoes in the last few weeks. Today, I went for it, and emptied a bag of Yukon Gold. I tried to just dig straight from the bag, but that gets pretty cramped. We had an old tub out back, so I dumped the bag of soil into the tub. This gave me more room to move the soil around.
At first, I was scraping the dirt away and looking carefully for any signs of life. I found a little worm, but that didn’t count. After a few layers of dirt were removed, potatoes started showing themselves.
I dug and dug, and felt like I was on an archaeological expedition. I didn’t want to miss any potatoes, and I didn’t want to slice into any of them with my little spade. The deeper I got, the more potatoes there were. Most of them were pretty good size, but some of them were teeny. They were like little potato beads.
I took them in and scrubbed them off. (A fingernail brush works well.) I was pretty happy with the outcome, especially since this started with four little potato pieces. See how cute the little ones are?
This crop may not have been as many as we were hoping for, but it was definitely more than we got last year. There is definitely enough to make something yummy. Grilled potatoes and onions is sounding good.
This is just the beginning. There are still 10 bags on the patio, of all different colors and varieties. I’ll be harvesting them over the next couple of weeks and coming up with fun ways to cook them.
This is one of those projects anyone can try, even if you have very limited space. And I have to say, I was super surprised at how much better really fresh potatoes taste than those you get at the store. If you missed the original potato planter bag post, you can find it here: