right now

right now

Aug 6, 2009

Will the real Irish Gardeners please stand up?!

Today was potato day! With names like my family has, I was afraid to be downright embarrassed if I came up empty handed, so you can imagine my delight when we discovered there was indeed actual potatoes growing in my experimental potato-straw cages! (Although remember when my husband torched my potato cages? This was going to be my excuse if we came up empty handed today :))

Here is a photo taken before we started. I have 3 potato cages filled with straw. The vines died back a couple of weeks ago on the two cages on the left. The one on the right is still green so Sailor/Farmer/Husband will be home to experience the fun when that one is ready.

Everything else went pretty much as the way I had planned. In theory, I would simply lift the chicken wire off, and the straw would spill out revealing the potatoes. It actually worked! I wasn't even sure what to expect as far as yield since this is the first time I have grown potatoes, but I decided I would be happy if I got at least a couple of dinners worth.

Here are the kids sifting through the straw. Along with potatoes they found 1 slug, 2 toads, and a couple of worms. Nothing too scary was in there! (I have to admit I was a little freaked at what might be living in there due to the air pockets in the straw and close proximity to the compost piles!)

The yield: 4.03 lbs Rose Finn Fingerling Potatoes!

I know my husband will be reading this from afar and wondering if he won't get to taste them - don't worry...there is one more potato cage waiting just for you! I plan on steaming or boiling a few tonight with a little butter, salt & pepper and fresh parsley, yum!

Not so impressive: below are the raspberries I found after I ripped the squash vines off my berry patch!

I did get a little bit accomplished today besides the potatoes so it was a good day. Although the humidity was 80 some percent, the temps stayed in the 80's and the sun stayed behind the clouds, so I was able to rip out my strawberry bed before the thunderstorms chased me inside and now I have 2 empty raised beds! (My area is known for all types of berries, so I will leave future strawberries up to the pick-your-own farms, since they take up so much space all year for a small harvest window). Oh, the possibilities of empty beds....you gardeners know what I am talking about! I can't wait to sit down with my seeds and catalogs and plan for the next season. A planning session and fresh ideas are just what I need to lift my spirits during this oppressive heat wave.

Tomorrow morning starts with a date with friends to pick blueberries at the farm. Gotta love blueberries, they are so easy! Pick, eat, freeze whole. SIMPLE!


  1. I've grown potatoes both under straw (mulch) and the old-fashioned way(!), under dirt. The yield in dirt is most of the time higher but the nice thing about growing in straw is you never have muddy taters! Yours look GREAT!

  2. Y'all are Irish? I never would have guessed that! :0

  3. Nice potatoes! How many pounds did you buy of seed all together?

    That is one crop I plan on doing more of next year, organic potatoes from home beat grocery store chemical laden potatoes by a mile! The boys are so cute, what fun they must be having with all of this! Hope you come home loaded with blues. 8)

  4. I am going to try this method next year. another friend did the same thing and I have waited with baited breath to see the results. I'm so excited it worked!

  5. It was exciting! Kelly, I only bought a 2 lb bag of seed potatoes, and only used 12 whole little fingerlings! I had leftovers, but nowhere to plant them. I will definitely do more of these cages since they were really space-efficient. My problem is that we don't have basements here, so I think next year I am going to have to sink a trash can into the ground for a homemade cellar if I have any hopes of keeping them for winter.