Potatoes to Grow and Eat

I planted potatoes for the first time this year: purple, red, white, and gold. I’ve always felt sort of intimidated by growing potatoes, but this year I decided to give it a try because people kept telling me it was really very easy. Here’s where they were – a 5×5 plot in a raised bed. (Those are leeks on the other side, still growing.)

IMG_2174I bought a bag of nine little potatoes to bury in the ground. And they grew:


The directions said to covering the plants with straw or mulch as they grew. So, I bought a lot of compost this summer, bags and bags that I dumped on top as the plants got taller and leggier. I’m not sure how much all these potatoes ended up costing, with the dozen bags of compost I bought this summer. But hey, it’s about the process – and probably cheaper than if my hobby was designer shoes.

Eventually they flowered. (I can’t believe I don’t have pictures.) Like the potatoes, the flowers were lavender, white, gold, and pink – very cheerful. I kept dumping bags of compost on top of them, wondering if anything was happening under there. Soon they sprawled all over the place, overflowing the edges of the bed.

Then all the plants turned yellow and then brown and died back. And underneath were actual potatoes:


(When I had more time to dig them all up:)

IMG_2162(Apologies for the blurry photo.)

I truly couldn’t believe it. This pile of dirt was full of things you could eat. I tried sifting the dirt with a digging fork but I was spearing and gouging too many of them, so I switched to a trowel. The same thing happened so I gave up and used my gloved hands to paw at the wet dirt. But every single time I found a potato I felt such delight. I greeted each discovery by name, like it was my new best friend: “Potato!” The neighbors probably thought I was nuts.



They were all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some were attached to one another like linked sausages. Others had funny little heads, like bowling pins.


We picked out the ones I had injured to cook first, in case they started rotting faster than the others.

First, we scrubbed the dirt off:

IMG_2178Then, sliced them up – the plan was to scallop them. (Note cute tiny baby potatoes on the side of the cutting board.)


IMG_2182Pour cream, milk, garlic, and thyme mixture over the top and bake…


Finish by melting cheddar cheese on top, with bicolor sautéed peppers on the side. You can see a hint, still, of the purple potatoes under the cheese:



Hooray for potatoes!