Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Potatoes in a pot

...on the roof?

Hm. I had forgotten that I wanted to grow potatoes on the roof farm. But looking at these pictures taken in my mother's garden reminded me. It is such fun to dig down into the soil in a bucket or pot and find...whole potatoes! As if by magic. 

Is it worth it? Will it feed the family? No, probably not. But it is worth it for just this moment, when the pale potato appears from the dark soil and your hand pulls the firm, new tuber out and dusts it off, and puts it in the dish, for a meal, soon. And to say that, We'll just cook them simply, and eat them with butter and salt, and then do that. And for everyone to chew them carefully and to be careful to note that they were in the soil, growing just hours before, and that they taste different, and to feel somewhere secretly, that what you just did was important.

That is a memory. And in the end, those are all we have. In our rockers, in the ignominy of growing age, we can rock and remember those potatoes we ate together that summer. If we remember.

I will grow my potatoes from store-bought ones that have sprouted. I am only going to grow enough for a few meals, so starting from proper seed potatoes is not worth it, for me. Fill the container with soil two thirds of the way, pop in about 3 pieces of potatoes with sprouted eyes, cover, water, and wait. They are ready after their blooms have faded and their leaves start to think about turning yellow.

As with most of my recipes, the devil is in the details. As with babies, do not let them sit wet, and make sure they drain well. Do not forget to water. They should be in full sun, but my mom's weren't. They were in the shade of the tree tomato. So if you have one of those, maybe it helps.

I grow them for pleasure, for fun, for entertainment, for a meal with a story. Coming home to water the potatoes is my idea of clicking on the TV...

I'm not sure how long they will take, but I am sure that I will have grown irritated by their lanky long stems and yellowing leaves and will be wondering why I decided to endure them, by the time I dig them up .

But they are pretty.


  1. We dug up our potatoes here in Noordhoek on the weekend. Gorgeous and yellow, eaten with butter and salt for Sunday night dinner. Alternate seasons, same intention.

  2. They are pretty. I'm also planning just one container, same thing sprouted store ones. And then later just enough to say I grew some.

  3. I'm also growing some first earlies (Charlottes) in pots. Can't wait to find out what they taste like!!

  4. Pretty much all of my fondest memories of my grandmother are somehow related to her garden. Of those digging up the potatoes is one of my favorite. That and pulling up carrots. Pure magic.

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  6. I'm sure it's been said many times, but your photography is just beautiful, and your posts are so poetic!

    Also, note to self: do not visit this blog while hungry.


  7. If I can talk Mitchell into digging me a small bed, I shall plant some this year. Grew them about 15 years ago and they were a most satisfying crop! It was so much fun to pull a handful and cook them for friends. Made me feel like a farmer!

  8. I'm growing potatoes for the first time this year. The folks at Gardeners Supply offered me one of their potato grow bags to trial and I'm excited. I bought seed potatoes last weekend...more than I can use. Do you want some or have you already planted?

  9. Yippee - my crop made it to the world. One thing though - about a quarter full of soil. As they sprout, keep adding more until the pot is full. Tall lanky stems, flowers open then die. Harvest.

  10. Yet one more thing I miss in this latitude. sigh...
    Ah! But you should have seen and tasted my Early Jersey Kidneys, from my roof plot in London!

  11. Oh, good, potatoes all round. That's nice.

    Hen, have taken note. I have only grown them once before (in New Haven!) and maybe I got lucky, then...

    Ellen, please sign me up. For once I can be legit!

    MIT - Early Jersey Kidneys sounds...a bit like organ trading on the black market:-)

  12. Hi, I'm Italian, I like your blog very much!
    Now I have a fig tree in a pot.
    I have (I hope) also an interesting link for you, about potatoes

    I'm sorry for my bad language

  13. I'm sorry... the link does not work...



  14. Grazie, Cecilia, the link worked at last - those are beautiful potatoes! Perhaps if I read Amici dell' Orto my Italian will improve :-)

  15. I hope my English will improve reading your blog :-)

    but I have yo use often Google translator... :-(


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