Idaho is not the only place to grow potatoes. Any backyard can supply a bounty harvest, done properly. The most important part of growing potatoes is picking the right variety of potato to grow. Some potatoes grow better in different areas of the country than others. For New Jersey, The best potatoes to grow are the Purple Peruvian, Yukon Gold, Red Bliss, Sweet, and the Fingerling Potatoes. These potatoes are hearty to the cold and immune certain diseases. The other thing to take into consideration is personal preference and taste. Fingerling potatoes pair well with steak on the grill. On the other hand Red Bliss or Purple Peruvian are the potatoes best for mashed, and purple mashed potatoes are pretty cool!.
Next decide where to buy your potato seeds. Potato seeds come from potatoes that have been left to make eyes. Places to find "eyes" are Johnny Selected Seeds, Tractor Supply, or a Lowes/Home Depot store.
Potatoes can plant pretty much anywhere with non-rocky soil. Make sure that wherever the potatoes are planted, that the solid is tilled really well. This will prevent the soil from being rocky, and will also allow nutrients from the deep soil from the bottom go up to the topsoil. Now that the soil is tilled and the seeds are bought. The planting can begin.
When putting the potatoes into the ground, first make sure that the temperatures are not going to dip into the 30’s. When putting them into the ground, select the best seeds. Take the potatoes that have a lot of eyes on them, then, dig a hole about six inches deep. Place one seed per hole and plant them around 18 inches apart. After planting cover them up with some rich black topsoil and water. After ten days (give or take a few depended on temperature and weather) the seeds will have germinated and there will be sprouts coming out of the ground.
It is important to water them every three days. They will start to grow to about 18 inches tall. Meanwhile under the ground small little potatoes will be sprouting off the roots. Once July comes, the potato plants will be around two feet tall, and big enough to be seen, this could be a problem because if they have access to the sun it could make the potatoes begin to rot. One can easily stop the rotting by covering them again with black topsoil. The plants will also have pink and yellow flowers on them and they attract important honey bee’s that will help pollinate the plants.
In mid to late August, the potatoes will be ready to be harvested. They are ready to be harvested when the plant above the ground dies and turns brown/tan. When harvesting, take a bucket or plastic bowl and a pair of gloves. your hands in Start digging. You will find potatoes around one foot from the plant to right at the base of the plant. Missed potatoes become next year's harvest. After pulling out all of the potatoes and ripping out the dead plants, take the potatoes in to the house and wash all of the dirt off of them. They will last around three weeks after washed and in the refrigerator.
Whether your enjoying some mashed potatoes at a summer BBQ, or some home fries with some eggs in the morning. Potatoes can be used for pretty much any course.
Here are some recipes that will make your harvest a wonderful meal for your family and friends.
Hanover Home Fries
3 medium russet potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
Rinse potato cubes with cold water, and drain well. Melt butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Place potatoes in the skillet, and stir to coat with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, and cook for another 10 minutes, turning frequently until brown and crisp on all sides
4 large potatoes
1 yellow onion
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
Finely grate potatoes with onion into a large bowl. Drain off any excess liquid.
Mix in egg, salt, and black pepper. Add enough flour to make mixture thick, about 2 to 4 tablespoons all together.
Turn oven to low, about 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
Heat 1/4 inch oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Drop two or three 1/4 cup mounds into hot oil, and flatten to make 1/2 inch thick pancakes. Fry, turning once, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel lined plates to drain, and keep warm in low oven until serving time. Repeat until all potato mixture is used.
Stay tuned for another installment of Here We Grow