July 30, 2010

Taters 'n Onions

Last week DH and I harvested our potatoes. The tops had all died back and we need the space for the fall garden.  Except for a few volunteer potato plants in the past (from winter trench composting), this was our first year to grow these.  As you potato growers know, harvest time is like a treasure hunt. At least it is the first time!

The potato fork goes in....

The potatoes come out!
These are Red Pontiacs, which are supposed to do well in the South.

1st load
I would say they did very well. We planted 9 pounds of seed potatoes on April 7th and harvested 120 pounds.  Potatoes are supposed to take anywhere between 90 and 120 days to mature. We harvested ours on day 112.

According to Mike and Nancy Bubel's book Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables, potatoes should be allowed to cure one to two weeks before storing.  To do that, we spread them out in the carport....

The harvest 
The ones that had been speared with the fork or looked otherwise unsuitable for long term storage were set aside. Some we'll use for a fall planting which is supposed to go in the ground this month.  The rest we'll eat  first.

The onion tops had died back as well, so I harvested onions while DH dug potatoes....

And onions
These are Ebenezer onions and I'm pleased that some are a nice size. The smaller ones I'll try to replant for more onions and seed next spring. They are currently being allowed to cure on the table in my summer kitchen.  I haven't weighed them yet, but they won't be enough I'm sure, as we use a lot of onions.

There is a behind-the-scenes incident to those potatoes.  Several days after harvesting, we got a much needed rain.  Unfortunately our carport floods when it rains, so DH and I were out there at 10:30 at night, in our PJs, trying to gather in all the potatoes before they got soaking wet.  We spread them out all over the summer kitchen floor, until there was no room to walk.  The next day I transferred them to the front porch.  Fortunately, alls well that ends well.


Taters 'n Onions © July 2010 by Leigh at http://my5acredream.blogspot.com/ (both photos & text).

19 comments:

Theresa said...

Great spuds! Such bounty from them for the first year.
We eat very little potato but like you onions are a much used staple. Is there ever enough? I'm curious will Vidalia onions grow in your area? They come from Georgia don't they and I would think both locals are equally warm during growing season. I seem to remember my GF explaining that their sweet taste had to do with the amount of sulpher in the soil....

Geodyne said...

You can never have too many potatoes and onions!

I'm interested that you're harvesting your potatoes so early. I tend to leave them in the ground for as long as I possibly can, to maximise the crop.

Mama Pea said...

You're way ahead of us on harvesting potatoes and onions. Our potato vines are still green, growing and looking pretty lush. The onion tops have all gone down but that's from the terrific winds we've been having. I'm hoping I'll still get more growth on the onions.

One fall when our daughter was nine, we dug potatoes when she was away visiting. She was SO disappointed when she got back home and realized we had dug the potatoes without her! You're right, it is like a treasure hunt. Good yield you got this year.

Nina said...

The potatoes and onions both look good. Our potatoes aren't ready to harvest yet. The heavy rains we've had - torrential downpours flattened the onions out early, so they really didn't get a chance to grow this year. Our garlic did really well though.

Leigh said...

Well, let's see. We planted our potatoes on April 7th and potatoes take anywhere from 90 to 120 days to mature. If I'm doing my math right, then we harvested ours at 112 days, after the tops had all died back. So that's about right. I have read that they can be stored in the ground for several weeks, but obviously we didn't do that. :)

Theresa, I reckon we'll eat a lot now! I will have to check on vidalias. They are our favorite onion, hands down. Mostly it will depend on whether or not we can save the seed.

Geodyne, I'm guessing ours wouldn't have grown any more since the tops had all died back. In fact, one was already starting to sprout! There was some insect damage too. My main concern is being able to store them well in our hot weather.

Mama Pea, isn't that what's so fun about the blogosphere, seeing what others are doing in their gardens in other parts of the world? :) This was DH's first time to dig potatoes and he was delighted with the whole thing.

Nina, I wish we could share your rain so that we both got just the right amount. I think I've "lost" my garlic. It's died back and I'm not sure exactly where it is! :o I need to do some exploratory soil scratching

Renee said...

Your potato harvest brought back memories of my childhood. My father had a friend who had a huge garden and would have us come help him harvest his potatoes. He would put the plow on the tractor and plow up the potatoes...we would dig into the hills the plow had formed and try to get as many as we could out. Then he would drive the plow over the area again and again until we couldn't find any more. Sometimes we got to ride on the tractor...but I always looked forward to it as I got a nice tan that day.

Woolly Bits said...

I don't have enough space for either all the "spuds" or onions we'd need - but I do plant shallots (very expensive here) and blue and red potatoes. and some newer varietes that stay blight free for a very long time. the blue potatoes are fun to eat (people always looks a bit upset when presented with purple mash:)), but not so fun to dig out - the near black skin makes them hard to find:)) I find that potatoes leave the soil very nice, crumbly and easy to replant!

maggie said...

Looks like you did quite well with your potatoes after all! :) Last year was the first year I planted potatoes, although not anywhere near 9 pounds. It was also the first year I planted onions, some of which then overwintered and went to seed. I find onions tricky. There are too many things in my yard that are too clumsy to avoid knocking over the onion tops. But next year I think I'll try to plant a lot of onions. I go through them pretty fast. Did you fall plant of spring plant your garlic?

DEEP END OF THE LOOM said...

Wow, that's a lot of spuds, really nice harvest for the first year.

Leigh said...

Renee, what a great memory. Your father's friend must have had a huge potato patch! Did you all form teams and have contests?

Bettina, I've seen those blue potatoes in the catalogues but have yet to try them! I was worried that blight did worse to our potatoes, but on the outside, they seem okay. Whew.

Maggie I planted both fall and spring garlic. The fall garlic was from the grocery store and didn't turn out real well. If I can just find my spring garlic, I can tell you how it did!

I have trouble with onions too. In fact, the rain beat down the tops of the ones we harvested. I knocked down a few too. I have seed that I'm going to plant in hopes that it will do well.

Bety, we're really thankful for it too! With potatoes, I think the trick will be figuring out how many we need before the next harvest. I really don't know how long that many potatoes will last us.

bspinner said...

There is nothing in the world better than new potatoes!!!!!

Benita said...

I remember digging up potatoes when I was a kid - we always had 2-3 very long rows of them and Mom and Dad made us carefully dig through all the loosened soil so that we didn't miss anything - even those that were only pea-sized. It was never a fun job, but we had to admit they tasted good all winter long.

Hoe long with 120 pounds last you two?

Michelle said...

Yes, we planted both this year, after only tiny dabbles in either in previous years. Haven't dug up the potatoes yet; wasn't sure if the planted had withered due to blight or maturity. We've harvested just a few onions; I plan to chop and dehydrate the extras since I use a lot of dry minced onion in cooking. I wonder how dried potatoes would work?

Sara said...

Nice potatoes...I planted onions...
but, the tops are gone and I don't know if I have any onions or not...

Sharon said...

We planted both and neither are mature, though part of the problem is that I need to mound the potatoes. We don't harvest ours but pull all through the winter. Onions are almost there and squash oh-so-behind. Such a place is this.

Leigh said...

Barb, I was surprised at how crisp our Red Pontiacs are. But oh so tasty roasted!

Benita, I would have figured all kids would have enjoyed a potato hunt! Of course it's different when it's a "have to."

I'm not sure how long those will last. That's what we're fixin' to find out. I plan to plant some this morning for a fall crop.

Michelle, ooo I agree about those dehydrated onions! We love them too. I had the same question about our potatoes too, whether they withered naturally or from blight. At first I thought it was blight, but they died back at the proper maturity and so far no signs of blight in the spuds themselves(!)

Sara, they may still be there! The same thing happened to my garlic. Which reminds me that I need to try to find that this morning while I'm out there planting potatoes.

Sharon I think you live in the most challenging place in the world for a home garden! Pretty neat though, that you can store your potatoes in the ground all winter.

Ken and Mary of Fancy Fibers Farm said...

I wish I had! We planted various potatoe varieties and onions last year and had a decent-good harvest just before we moved out of the city to the country. I hope to emulate your success next year. Congrats on your harvest.

Leigh said...

Ken and Mary, thanks. Last year was the year of our move, so the garden was really small. This year I've got my hands full!

Robin said...

YUMMY! I don't think we are going to get a harvest of our onions this year. We kinda goofed when planting them. Next year... I love onions and we use them in about everything. I didn't know that you had to cure them but I guess that doesn't surprise me as you have to cure garlic.