I have never met a potato I did not like. Seriously. There was period during the 80s that I refer to as my potato years. I shunned meats of any kind and pretty much subsisted for weeks at a time on baked potatoes, asiago cheese, and apples. That, plus my morning latte was it. I would go weeks and weeks on a steady diet of potatoes and little else.
Somewhere along the line, I gave up such foolishness and started eating a bit more normally. Well, maybe not normally but certainly with a lot more in the way of variety and protein foods.
I wrote about my teensy weensy garden in Getting Prepared Week 6: Planning the food garden. Back then, I promised a progress report but to tell the truth, there just isn’t any progress to report yet. My seedlings are scrawny and barely alive. Too cold and not enough light would be my guess. I am going to start anew when the weather dries out a bit and yes, I am going to have to purchase some starts.
But in the meantime, I bought a couple of small seed potatoes (40 cents worth to be exact – the clerk thought I was nuts, only two?) and set my sights on growing a few taters in a tub.
Here is the plan, although I will be using an old Rubbermaid tub (see above) and not a compost bag or potato growing bag.
Is it going to work? Sure hope so. The seed potato variety is called “Cal White” and according to our local garden center, they are of the early season type. Here in the Pacific NW, a short season variety is crucial if we expect a harvest of anything before October.
So why grow some taters in a tub? Let me count the ways!
1. Space or lack thereof. If blessed or cursed (depending on your perspective) with a small yard, you can isolate some potatoes in a container in an out of the way space or on a porch or deck and not worry about the tubers taking over your landscaping.
2. Potatoes in the garden can suffer from blight which is a fungus that will dash your green thumb victory in a heartbeat. By growing your spuds in a tub, you can use fresh soil and compost each year, thus reducing the likelihood that the blight will prosper and carry over to next year’s crop.
3. Simplicity. No seedlings to deal with. No monitoring dainty little baby plants as they grow to adulthood. The potato is a sturdy, macho veggie that does not require tenderness.
4. Potatoes are delicious. They can serve as the base for all kinds of good things when composing a one dish meal. I still love grated asiago or feta cheese on my potato plus, with the addition of some fresh chopped broccoli, I have the ultimate comfort food.
5. They store well. Given some space, you could grow lots of potatoes in pots and bags tucked in throughout the landscape. After harvesting, store your bounty in a cool place for use over the entire winter months.
6. Survival food: they can bake up in a fire pit without a problem. Top with some canned beans and there you go. Or shall I say there I go talking about comfort food again. Yummy.
7. Spuds are a nutrition powerhouse. One medium, skin-on potato contains only 110 calories and is full of vitamins and minerals essential for good health. They are an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, and also a source of dietary fiber and iron. There’s more. Potatoes contain no saturated, trans fat or cholesterol and very little sodium.
Need move convincing? Check out this free nutrition handbook from the United States Potato Board.
At the moment, my two little seed potatoes are sitting on the window sill, getting themselves ready to sprout. They will be headed for the tub this weekend. Let the potato party begin!
Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!