Potatoes

When You’re Craving Carbs

Potatoes.

What don’t they go with?

I find myself picking up some form of potato most times I swing by the store or farmers market. And if it’s a sweet potato? Forget about it. They’re one of my absolute favorite foods.

I knew I wanted to expand my garden with a fabric above ground planter. Once I added the one I wanted to my cart, tricky Amazon started suggesting similar items… and a potato grow bag caught my eye.

I’ve thought about growing potatoes, and I’ve had potatoes sprout on accident more than once, so I had a general understanding of what I would need.

And just like that potato grow bags were added to my order, and en route to my house.

I swung by the nursery last weekend, and headed to the “bulbs and roots” section to see what they had. They had three varieties of small white/gold potatoes, and the Kennebec variety caught my eye. I used to have local Kennebec potatoes delivered to my house when I would have my weekly local food boxes delivered. So this let me know three things:

  1. I like the way those little potatoes taste
  2. I know how to cook with them
  3. They grow well locally (i.e. hopefully they’ll be happy in my backyard)

Plus, they were half off, so for a couple of dollars, I got my hands on 5 heavily sprouted Kennebec potatoes.

But I tell you, I had a hard time finding sprouted sweet potatoes.

My nursery didn’t have any.

I swung by the hardware store for soil, and checked there too, no luck.

In the back of my mind I knew that I could get an untreated sweet potato from the grocery store and wait for it to sprout at my house, but I wanted to get the potatoes planted as soon as possible so that they would have plenty of growing time.

I called around to see if anywhere else had sweet potato slips, and had luck with Southern States. It’s funny though, when I was on the phone I specifically asked “do you have sprouted sweet potatoes? The potatoes themselves?” and the woman went to check and said “sweet potato spuds? yes, we’ve got them, and they’re very popular.”

So, I headed that way to grab some for myself.

When I got there, they did not have sprouted sweet potatoes. They had already vining sweet potatoes (known as slips, these came 6 to a container, with about 6 inch tall green leaves).

I asked the nursery attendant if she had any experience with growing potatoes and the answer was a resounding no, and she pointed me to google. (I tell ya, I would really appreciate if people who work at plant nurseries knew a little more about what they’re selling. See my previous post and the “all I know about tomatoes is that they need cages” response I got earlier this season.)

But alas, google did help. And from my research it just looked like the sweet potato vines are just a step ahead of my sprouted Kennebec potatoes (so if that means they’ll be ready a week or two sooner, I’m okay with that).

If you’re interested in growing potatoes, I’ve been told by multiple backyard gardeners that they’re “easy!” Next time you find an old shrunken sprouted potato that you forgot to cook, consider planting it.

Stay tuned, my next post will explain the planting process (hint, I’m using grow bags!)

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