Mein Kartoffelgarten, my potato garden

Acting on a whim a few months ago, I buried some potatoes that had grown sprouts. Two went into buckets, and the third into a tire that was filled with dirt.Here’s how it looked:

stack

I reckon that most of us probably have never seen what a potato plant looks like when as grows. Before this, I hadn’t either, so the tall green shoot coming up from the tire was a sign I had done something right. The potato plant makes a tall stem that gets about two or three feet high, and has white blossoms. The flowers have fallen off long ago, but the stem remains intact. What you can’t see is that it’s sending out tubers in the tires.

Today, on another whim, I dug out the potatoes from one bucket and from the tires. Here’s what I found. Per the yellow lines and number labels:

Potato parts

1. The shriveled original potato. When I put the potato in the dirt, I forgot that you should cut the chunk of potato bearing the “eye” off the larger potato, and plant that in the ground. Oh well. It looks like the starches stored in the potato went to good use, sending up tall stalks and making lots of little potatoes.

2. The stalks. Enough said, eh?

3. Potatoes! To think, I grew these from grocery store discards! Lots of little ones that you can’t easily see in this picture, but some pretty good sized ones came out of the tire stack. It’s curious, as I think I planted a brown potato, but it grew red ones. Perhaps I’m inventing that memory as I found the shriveled brown potato. But I do think it was brown to begin with. I don’t know; can brown potatoes bear red “baby” potatoes?

The green, red, orange, and yellow-green plants around the labeled potatoes are the other crops we harvested today. There are wax beans on the top, a forest of broccoli, and orange and red cherry tomatoes on the upper edge of the plate.

I still have one more bucket that I did not harvest. I concluded that the potatoes could use more time to grow after finding a few tubers in the tire stack.

tuber

It’s a little hard to see, but the purple-red blotches on the white tube that I’m holding are little potatoes. The tubers ran  around the rim of the bottom tire… which makes sense, as the potato would seek out lateral space to send its tubers through. Perhaps with another few months of growth time, the tuber taters would have gotten fairly sizable. That’s why I’m leaving the last potato bucket alone, aside from the occasional watering.

I’ll try to fry the potatoes up in a day or two and let you know how they are. It’s easy to do, and anyone with a little space can do it. As Godsil would say, “Why not?”

By the way… I owe a huge thanks to following people and groups:

  • Stacie… because… well…

Stacie!

😀

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

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