We planted potatoes for the first time last year and things went a bit overboard.
Friends of the family have a plot in Torbay, about 20 min out off St. John’s, and were kind enough to lend us part of their land and much of their knowledge. We had two 100 ft. rows and used them to plant hardy vegetables since we were only visiting the garden about once a week. We decided on carrots, beets and Swiss chard, seeds from Hope Seed and from the Eastern Farmers Co-Op, onions and 25 lb. of 4 different kinds of certified potato seed: erin victor, purple chief, rochedale gold and eramosa.
The potatoes were planted under black plastic to keep the weeds away and trap the heat. Holes were poked through the plastic and into the soil. In each hole we added some fertilizer and finally the potato seed. In one row we used commercial fertilizer and on the other vermicompost – which curiously grew better potatoes.
The spring was cold and grey but by late August the plot was in full bloom and we were picking a few small potatoes. The 25 lb. of potato seed gave us about 100 lb. of potatoes, a “bit” much for a family of 2, wouldn’t you agree? By late fall we had 8 milk crates full of potatoes to store in the root cellar.
Once our son was born, we decided to spend 3 months in Europe. The race was on to eat all the potatoes. We gave them to friends, family, strangers and we cooked them in all possible ways. For breakfast we would have them roasted or made latkes, for lunch and dinner we cooked vegetarian Shepherd’s pie, delicious cheesy perogies and Portuguese “punched” potatoes full of garlic and dripping in olive oil. In our potato daze I developed a new appreciation for this versatile staple.
There is nothing like eating a fresh and crisp cooked potato just taken off from the ground. “They’re like apples” said a friend of ours after proudly stating that new potatoes are his favourite vegetable.
In the end, no potatoes were wasted in the making of this blog post.