Thursday, December 8, 2011
When we started planning our garden at the beginning of the year, we had no idea we'd still be at it in December. Planting garlic in October seemed really late last year. But here we are, digging our potatoes in December.
I read lots of differing opinions on when to dig potatoes. Most sources said to dig them up before they sprout again and try to start another cycle. But I decided to listen to my dad who said "I've never seen them sprout."
My dad had already dug up most of the red potatoes, but the rest of the Yukon Golds, the Banana Fingers and Purple Peruvian potatoes all needed to be dug up. We got them all out except for the Purples.
We're leaving them in the field for a reason. They're horrible. They're a perfect case of the illusion that everything that's an heirloom is better. Although beautiful and thoroughly purple, they were always left untouched when we cooked up a selection of potatoes. I don't know what was wrong with them, but their texture reminded me of leftover fries reheated in a microwave.
It feels awful to leave them out there, as if we're wasting food or something, but I know I'm not going to pick them when I go to the basement looking for food. The hours that would go into digging, picking, drying and storing is better spent elsewhere.
While digging potatoes is a whole lot of fun, my help for the afternoon was quickly distracted with dirt clods, or weeds that have been pulled up and are hurled across a field like giant lawn darts.
But really, whatever distracts the kids from lying around inside is fine with me.
I did some reading on how to cure and prepare the potatoes for winter. So right now they're drying in the basement before I move them to a more humid area for storage. Since we didn't build a humid root cellar, I think I'm going to build a shelving unit, drape it in plastic, and put some shallow pans of water underneath. If you have any methods you've used to store taters over winter, let us know.