Tender potatoes, harvested from your backyard, and then boiled and served with plenty of butter, are nothing short of heavenly. Growing potatoes is especially rewarding because there are so many new varieties. Try delicious fingerling and other potatoes, which often come in a rainbow of colors. Skin colors include red, white, blue, tan, and brown, and flesh colors include traditional white as well as yellow, red, blue and bicolors. Pick them small for the most delicate garden treat. Let them get larger if you want to mash or store them.
Potatoes are usually grown from pieces of tuber, called sets or seed potatoes, rather than true seed. Plant them two to four weeks before the last spring frost. After sprouts emerge, mound soil around the stems to shade developing tubers from sun. Exposed tubers turn green, bitter, and mildly toxic (cut out any green portions before serving.)
- Plant Type:
- Plant Height:
- 1-2 feet tall
- Plant Width:
- 1-2 feet wide
You may begin harvesting new potatoes six to eight weeks after planting when tubers are 1 to 2 inches in diameter by carefully digging next to stems with a small fork. Wait for the main harvest until plant tops start to die back on their own. For storage, cure undamaged, harvested tubers by placing them in a dark humid location at 65° to 70°F for two weeks. For long-term storage, place cured tubers in the dark at 40° to 50°F. At colder temperatures, potatoes may become sugary.
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