by Helen Legare,
Legare Farms, Inc.
This is one of my favorite times of year on the farm. It’s not because of the weather or any other outside activity. The cold winter months are the time for planning. I pour over seed catalogs and look for new exciting varieties of vegetables to plant. Typically I stick with what has been a tried and true variety for us in the past but every so often I come across one that intrigues me.
January and February are spent planting potatoes and onions. In March we start planting other things like yellow squash, zucchini, sweet corn, and butter beans as well as many other things. We’re getting the tomato, pepper, and eggplant plants ready to go into the field. Once everything is planted then we pray for no more frost. We lost an entire tomato crop one year when we had frost on April 4th. Good thing we were able to buy more plants and replant.
Potatoes are one of my favorite things to grow. We have to plant them early before we really get busy with so many other chores. Potatoes are always a surprise when we dig them because you are never sure if you have made a crop until the plants begin to die back and we dig them. We plant most of our potatoes in containers now. We use several different things including bins made from old pallets and black plastic nursery pots.
Potatoes would be a great start for a new gardener or for someone with limited space. You can produce lots of potatoes in a very small area. I know people who grow them on their apartment patios. Any place that gets good sun will work. Potatoes can be grown in straw or hay and can even be grown in garbage bags, just remember to punch holes in the bag for drainage. If you have the space and are growing in the soil, remember to add a lot of organic matter. There are lots of instructions on the internet on how to grow potatoes and most I’ve read are really helpful.
Potatoes come in many sizes and colors. You can grow white, red, yellow, and purple potatoes. It’s always fun to try something that can’t be found easily in the grocery store. Seed potatoes can be bought locally from Feed and Seed stores but if you want to try something really different, go to the internet and shop. Just remember that there may be a reason that a variety is hard to find. It may be hard to grow and disappoint you.
I think the best way to eat new potatoes (those just dug little potatoes) is boil them or microwave them until soft then spread some butter on them with a little salt and eat. However the following recipe is pretty good and easy.
Roasted Red Potatoes
3 lbs. small red potatoes, cut in half
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes cut side down on a cookie sheet. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes but check after 20 minutes.