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April 01, 2010

Spud Order

Maybe it's the little bit of Irish blood that I've got running through my veins, or maybe it's my tendency toward carbohydrate addiction, but potatoes have always been one of my favorite things to eat.  As far as I'm concerned, they are a food group in and of themselves.  We often make a meal out of a baked potato (a quick and easy lunch if you own a microwave), or go slightly fancier by adding lemon, capers, and olive oil to boiled new potatoes.

Since they're well suited to growing in cooler climates, potatoes are the perfect crop for northern gardens. They tolerate a variety of soil types, and produce reliably with little effort. My grandfather tells stories of spending his childhood tending the family potato field during the great depression. They grew an acre in nothing but potatoes, and the resulting harvest saw them through a entire year until the next crop went in.  You'd think that after spending years eating potatoes every day, he'd never want to look at them again, but they're still a staple in his diet. Maybe I come by my love of spuds honestly.

Nowadays, there are so many interesting varieties that it can be difficult to know what to grow.  I knew that I would definitely be planting my favorite Yukon Golds and Red Chieftans again (which I'm sprouting and planting this year from potatoes that I originally bought for cooking), but I also wanted to try something new.  That's when I discovered Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes. Their website is packed with a bevy of gorgeous potato varieties, and I spent days drooling over the selection before settling on a final order (which ended up being much larger than originally planned).  The beauty of their site is that you can order small amounts of many different kinds of potatoes, making it easy to experiment.

"Chitting" seed potatoes.

These are the varieties that I finally settled on (all "foursomes"):

     -French Fingerling
     -Viking
     -Kennebec
     -German Butterball
     -All Red (2 packages, because I'm intrigued by the idea of pink mashed potatoes)
     -Green Mountain
     -Desiree
     -Purple Viking
     -Alaska Sweetheart
     -Russet Burbank
     -Shepody

The garden is now completely grass-free and ready to go, but we've got a stretch of rainy weather to get through before planting these babies outside.  I can't wait to see if this bunch will produce a new family favorite.

Is there a potato variety that your garden would be incomplete without?

8 comments:

Frugal Life UK said...

hi Cheryl p that's a lot of spuds! must be the Brit influence that we both call them spds! I've planted three potato sacks so far and I'll leave it for three weekly intervals for the next six weeks and keep planting - i love spuds too

el said...

I am just about to go out to plant my first batch, how funny. That and fava (broad) beans, and some really cool black chickpeas AND peas! whee!

I got as a gift about 2 pounds of Huckleberries...they weren't enough! I hope to be able to expand the holdings of them. But otherwise our choices are fairly boring; maybe about 7 types total, and none of them terribly sexy.

have fun with the pink mashed potatoes, Cheryl, what a great gardening goal!

Garden Pheenix said...

I make a potato tower each year and just buy organic potatoes at the shop, let them sprout, cut them up and put them in - they reliably grow me organic beautiful potatoes but I have no idea the variety. Loooove growing them though :cD

Cheryl said...

Frugal - It sounds like you're planting even more than I am!
Do non-Brits not call them spuds? I thought everyone did! :)

El - I need to get out there and plant my broad beans too. I usually do it in February, I hope I won't pay for it with an aphid infestation!
I've never heard of Huckleberry potatoes, they look a bit like the All Reds. Guess it'll be pink mashed potatoes for both of us!

Garden Pheenix - What exactly is a potato tower? Sounds intriguing...
I guess as long as you know that you enjoy eating the potatoes you're planting, it doesn't really matter what the variety is!

LisaBW said...

We grew German butterball potatoes a few years ago and I absolutely loved them!! I'm sure you will, too.

Cheryl said...

Lisa - Can't wait! I suppose anything with the word "butter" in it's name has to be good. :)

Annie said...

YUM! I'm with you on the potato love! One day I hope I have a ton of space filled with potato plants.

Shawna said...

I remember harvesting my 1st crop of red potatoes--it was like a treasure hunt! I was in heaven, having so much fun.

Following crops weren't as much fun, but I still grow my potatoes. I was just reading up on varieties yesterday and am planning next years crop (this year already sprouted.) In fact, next year we will be revamping the entire garden and potatoes are a definite crop :-)

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