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The Last Harvest

October 17th, 2011

Except for possibly some spinach and arugula, I harvested the last major item from the 2011 edible garden. Last week, the remainder of the potatoes were exhumed from the earth and stashed away in the garage to provide sustenance through the winter. You might think it’s a little late to be harvesting potatoes and it is for me.

Generally, I plant potatoes early in the spring and harvest them in July. Here in NE Ohio we had a very wet spring which made planting potatoes early impossible .  Any that were planted in April rotted in their water graves. I planted fresh potatoes in their place at the beginning of June, and they grew beautifully all summer.  Potatoes planted earlier have less trouble with potato beetles.  I didn’t spot a single potato beetle here at Chiot’s Run.  We spotted one or two potato beetles at my mom’s house, but they were never a problem.

Since I had planted all of my saved seed potatoes in the spring, I didn’t have any seed potatoes left for replanting in June, so I ordered some from Wood Prairie Farm. I got 1 pound of ‘Elba’ and ‘King Harry’ and 2.5 pounds of ‘Butte’. They all grew well, but Butte outproduced the others by a lot, which isn’t surprising since they were in a section of the garden that has better soil. I harvested 15 pounds of ‘Butte’ from the seed potatoes.  I’m really interested to see how the later harvest affects the keeping abilities of the potatoes.  Theoretically, they should last later into the spring since they were harvested a few months after the other potatoes.

This isn’t my entire potato crop, some of them were were grown in the potager at my mom’s house. We planted them in May and harvested them in early September when we returned from vacation. They were actually ready to harvest much earlier, but we were on our Tiny Trailer Travels for most of August.

There’s something really great about growing a good crop of potatoes each year. Homegrown potatoes are much tastier than their supermarket counter parts and it sure is nice to have that secure feeling a good stockpile of potatoes gives you.   Even though potatoes and other food are readily available in the supermarket all winter long, it certainly gives you a sense of security to have a big box of potatoes in the pantry! This winter I’m experimenting with keeping my potatoes in the garage until it’s super cold, then in the outdoor basement stairwell. I’ll keep you updated on how the root cellar alternatives work out.

Do you grow potatoes in your garden? Do you grow enough to eat throughout the year? What do you think will be your last harvest from the garden?

For an in depth article about growing your own potatoes read this post on the Your Day Blog.

PS – love those gloves in the last photo? Ethel is retiring the Port Royale style and they’ll be 50% off this week.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.