I wasn’t going to harvest our potatoes yet, since they can stay in the ground until after we get frost. It is, however, Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and dangit, I want to have some of our own potatoes! 😀
The fingerling potatoes are still growing, but the Yukon Gem and Norland potato plants are completely died back, so those were my target for today.
Using old feed bags as grow bags was an experiment for us, and it was interesting to see that roots had made their way through the bottoms of the bags. These will definitely not see another year of use, and they were also weathered enough to start tearing a bit while I moved them, but that’s still pretty good, considering they would have been thrown out, otherwise.
That kiddie pool is, once again, the handiest thing ever! So are those old window screens I found on the barn. 😀 The bags got dumped into the pool, where I could go through the soil to find the potatoes and set them aside on the screen.
This is the contents of the very first bag I emptied!
Each variety was planted in five feed bags. We did gather some potatoes earlier, and I tried to take out just a couple from each bag, so there was originally a few more than what you can see here.
I had assistance from a Nosencrantz, ferociously hunting leafs!
By the time I was working on the Yukon Gem potatoes, the kiddie pool was too full, so I moved aside the remaining bags and started to return some of the soil to create a new bed for planting. For the amount of soil, the new bed will extend along the fence further than the rows of bags are, as I don’t want to to be too wide or too deep. Unless I change my mind at the last minute or something, we will be transplanting some perennial flowers that need to be divided.
One of the nice things I noticed while picking through the soil to find the potatoes, was how many nice, big fat worms I found! They managed to make their way through the bottoms of the bags. I could even see worm holes in the soil under the bags, too.
Here they are! All of the red and yellow potatoes we got.
Such a small harvest, but not too shabby, considering this year’s growing conditions. These will sit outside on the screens for a bit, but with so few potatoes, there’s no need to properly cure them. We’ll be eating them pretty quickly. In fact, quite a lot of these will be used up this weekend, with Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂
It should be interesting to see what we get with the fingerling potatoes!
As for how the grow bags did compared to doing the Ruth Stout, heavy mulching method we did last year, I would say these did better. I didn’t know about indeterminate and determinate potatoes before this. If I’d known, I would have specifically looked up indeterminate varieties for these bags, and would have kept filling them with soil and mulch over the summer. That would have resulted in a higher yield. It just happened that all the varieties we chose were determinate, so they grew all on one level. The main thing was that there was no sign of any slug or insect damage on the potatoes. With the Ruth Stout method, I found a lot of slugs as I dug up the potatoes, and quite a few holes in the spuds.
For next year, I am thinking we definitely want to look into doing something like this again; maybe grow bags again, or some other way of doing a potato tower. I think it will depend on what kind of varieties we go with next year, and if I can find indeterminate varieties. I was looking at different websites last night, including some that specialized in only potatoes, and just about everything is marked as sold out. I’m hoping that’s because of the time of year, and that they will come available again after harvesting and curing is done for the winter. I’d like to try sun chokes and sweet potatoes, too – there is one place I’ve found that sells sweet potatoes that can grow in our climate. I think I’m the only one in the family that actually likes sweet potatoes, though (the rest of the household just sort of tolerates them), so I wouldn’t have to grow many. I’ve never found sun chokes to buy and taste, so that will be something to try just to find out if we like them or not!
We’ll have to find a new place to grow potatoes next year, though, since this spot will become a flower bed. We’ll have to think about that! Especially since I hope to increase the quantity we plant. Over time, we’ll need to grow a LOT more potatoes to have enough for four people, to store over the winter, but we’ll get there little by little.