April 8, 2010

Potatoes & Horseradish

My seed potatoes are planted.

Originally I ordered 4 lbs of Red Pontiacs, but when confronted with bags of them at Tractor Supply, I bought another 5 lbs "just in case." Just in case of what I'm not sure, but now I have 10, 23 foot row trenches of potatoes planted. Once the plants are taller than the trenches, I'll fill them in. Later I'll mulch heavily (up to one foot deep) and then wait for the harvest.

Except for occasional volunteers from buried compost, I've never grown potatoes before. In a way this is odd, because of all the years I've been gardening and we do like potatoes. After all, I grew up in the midwest, where potatoes were our staple starch. You know, the old "meat and potatoes" thing.

The other thing I planted, or rather sunk, were two pots of horseradish, smack dab in the middle of the potato patch. You can see the tops of the two pots sticking out of the soil, in the photograph above. I saw on a companion planting chart, that horseradish is a good companion to potatoes. Since horseradish is perennial however, I didn't want a permanent bed in that particular spot. After all, next year my potatoes will be planted elsewhere.

My order came with five horseradish roots. Three, I planted in a corner of the garden, the other two I potted.

I don't usually do well with potted plants.

However, I figured that sinking the pots might work well. They won't dry out for one thing.

For another, they won't spread uncontrollably, plus I can move them when I want. I'm curious as to how well this will work out.

I'm thinking now, that I probably should have waited to order the potatoes so that I could plant them later, for a fall harvest. That would make more sense, considering our long growing season, and as most of them will go to food storage anyway. My seed potatoes were beginning to sprout however, so I figured if I didn't get them into the ground, I'd lose them. How long the last of this crop will keep in the spring for a later planting is a question I don't have an answer to. It's one more thing I'll have to work out as I go along.

Potato Growing Links:
University of Illinois Extension - Potato
The Organic Gardener - Growing Potatoes
Seed Savers Exchange - Potato Growing Guide
BBC Gardening Guides - Growing Potatoes
and some nutritional information - World's Healthiest Foods - Potatoes

Horseradish Growing Links:
Bert's Gourmet Horseradish
How To Garden Guide - Growing Horseradish
GardenGuides.com - How to Grow Horseradish

Potatoes & Horseradish (both text & photos) 
copyright April 2010 by Leigh at http://www.5acresandadream.com/


Alison said...

I'll be really interested to hear how the horseradish works for you! Especially in pots. I believe it's recommended because it scares slugs away; whether that comes from the leaves or the roots, I don't know, but I'd always assumed the roots. If that's the case, maybe the pots will get in the way?

If I ever get around to ordering some horseradish, I was planning to dig it up every year to harvest some root, then replant. I think.

Theresa said...

I think your garden is looking amazing, and I love horseradish!

Woolly Bits said...

how did you prepare the beds - by hand digging? I wish I was this far in my garden! I don't treat horseradish like that though. you dig out roots for harvest anyway and replant some of them for next year - so I don't think there is a need for pots. over here the plant does not stay unmoved in its place like rhubarb - once you harvest you can put back roots anywhere you like? I used to put perennial veggies all over the place, but somehow it hindered preparation next spring. I had to work around them all the time - not ideal, far easier to put all the perennials in one bed. good luck with your "patties" - we can't plant yet, too risky with the weather!

Renee Nefe said...

I've never grown either before, so I'll be waiting to see how it goes. But your potato planting reminded me of the grossness I found in my pantry last night...my potatoes decided to go bad and UGH what a mess and smell!

Marie said...

I have never planted potatoes except with my Dad growing up...I was hoping to this year but not sure if its too late.

Leigh said...

Alison, I figure this an experiment. It's interesting to get comments on this, because I'm learning some things. In my reading, it's potato bugs that are supposed to be deterred by horseradish. I'll have to report on this later this summer!

Theresa, thanks! How do you like to eat horseradish? I use it in our supertonic. I'm always on the lookout for recipes.

Bettina, we had to till in the annual rye first, as it was just a green manure cover crop. Dan had to do this several times, as the rye roots were a bit stubborn. I made the trenches with a hand hoe, and Dan dug the holes for the pots with a shovel. Your method would certainly be easier. I'll put that on the "list" for next year!

Oh Renee, I hate that. Potatoes do stink pretty badly when they go bad. I just hope I can keep up with our stored root crops this year!

Maries Cottage, potatoes prefer cool soil. I read somewhere that they are ready to harvest in 2 - 4 months (?) That seems like a wide variance, but as long as you are able to harvest them before a hard freeze, I'd think you'd be okay.

I'm going to add some potato growing links to the end of the post. They might be helpful for readers and me!

Laura @ LivingOurWay said...

This is interesting to read about. These are two things we are not planting...yet. I like the idea of the sinking pots.


Haven't tried potatoes but for us down here that would be October for Feb/March Harvest we are backwards from most of the country for growing stuff. Too hot, too humid and way too much rain.

Sara said...

When I lived in Jonesborough, TN - we (my ex and I) decided to plant a garden. We both love yams - so we both a some wonderful Puerto Rican Sweet potatoes to plant.

Once we were ready to dig them up, I found my dog, Isis Dreamweaver, digging up the potatoes. She would run and dig up two of them and bring one back to our other dog, Venus (who was on a lead - cause she like the cows across the road)...

Long story short - we never got a sweet potato out of the bunch - the doges got them all!!!

Robin said...

Just seeing all that nice dirt makes me want to come over and plant something. I've never seen horseradish starts before and I thought you were holding some bones at first.

Leigh said...

Laura, one of the things I love about the blogosphere is how we can all learn from one another's experiences. We'll all see together how well those potted horseradishes work out.

Deep End, yes, Florida has it's own type of gardening! Almost year round, isn't it.

Sara, that is too funny. I'm going to plant some of that very same type of sweet potato, but fortunately we don't have any dogs!

Robin, they weren't like what you see in the grocery store, were they? I'm guessing those were some of the smaller roots. I'll have to try my own starts next year.

maggie said...

I will be interested to hear how potted horseradish works for you. I think I have read that horseradish doesn't like being potted because its roots are so vigorous. Last year I potted a single hop root. Went to move it a week or so ago and discovered the root had grown through the drainage hole and affixed the pot to the ground. I think for plants like these you need a really big pot!

m said...

Here in Britain we have different varieties of potatoes that mature at different times. So we start with earlies, then second earlies and lastly main crop. (See this BBC guide - http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/growfruitandveg_potatoes1.shtml for details).
We grow a handful in a tall bag of our compost in the greenhouse before the tomatoes and peppers need the space. As the leaves show, you just add more compost, and keep on topping it up.

Wren said...

You are going to love it! We grow them every year. Pontiac Reds and Kennebecs last year. Dug them early because of the blight, but they lasted us until March this year. Planted 25 pounds of seed potatoes and dug up around 230 pounds of potatoes at harvest. Was on a weighing kick last year for the produce.. Best of luck to you!! ~Another Leigh in PA

Leigh said...

Maggie, I've had that happen with potted plants too! I think it's a good experiment, but I'm glad I didn't put all the roots in pots.

Mary, thank you for the link! I hadn't thought of planting potatoes in the compost. You've given me more options to consider.

Leigh, thank you for visiting and taking time to comment! Very interesting about your potatoes. I'm glad you did weigh because that information is helpful. If we get the same results, then I can hope for 90 lbs worth. Sounds good to me!

Sharon said...

Ian planted horseradish a couple of years ago. I guess one plant is all you need because every year, it comes back. Ian put the potatoes in yesterday. We just finished eating last years potatoes last month. After eating our own potatoes, store potatoes just fall short. You'll see what I mean. I told him to plant more this year!

Gina said...

Oh, sinking the pots of horseradish is such a great idea (and one I am "stealing", LOL)!! I planted some my first year at our property and I lost it under the weeds in the spot I chose. I have never seen any of the plants. Using a pot I can keep better track of it! Thanks for the idea!

Unknown said...

Have any of you tried Lasagna Gardening? I'm getting ready to try it next year. You can start it with out digging up the soil.
You use cardboard and newspapers, spagham moss and compost. If you were growing potatoes you would put your seed potatoes on the cardboard or newspaper then the moss then some hay and then pile on
the compost, alls left is to wait for the harvest. I'll let you know how I do.


Leigh said...

Sharon, I've discovered how easily it comes back too. In fact, the pots for control of spread proved to be worthless! :)

Gina, I had the same thing happen and I agree, the pots make it easier to keep track of!

Louie, I'm not tried lasagna gardening yet. In fact, I looked in our county library for a book on it, but alas, we don't have one. I think it would be great for some of my perennial areas.