What’s Up With My Potatoes?

Reader Contribution by Nebraska Dave
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This year I planted potatoes in layers. The first layer was planted on Good Friday, the day that is always said to be the day to plant potatoes for my area. Then three weeks later when the sprouts poked through the soil, potatoes were laid on top of the first layer and eight inches of soil covered up the first layer sprouts and the planted potatoes. Three weeks later another layer was planted and covered. I was hoping that this method would give a bigger yield in a smaller space. By July every thing was going well and the first of the potatoes started blooming.

Of course the blooming was in three different times due to the layers planted at different times. Then a funny thing happened that I never saw happen on potatoes before. The blooms turned into little pods.

I have heard that potatoes can be planted from seed. I should have opened one of these up to see what was inside but I didn’t think of it at the time. It was a very unusual thing. Things continued as planned and the vines dried up in three different times as expected. I left the potatoes in the ground hoping to get the biggest yield possible and didn’t pay much attention for at least four weeks. The weather here has been unseasonably warm which may have something to do with what happened next.

This is the regrowth of the potato vines. I dug up a back corner just to see what in the world was happening under the ground. The potatoes from the dried up vines were great. I pulled up a regrowth potato plant and found a surprise under it.

As you can see there is no seed potato that produced this vine with many small potatoes on it. I don’t really know for sure what has happened here but I have a theory. The little pods that were produced from the blooms earlier in the year were perhaps seed pods that dropped on top of the soil when the vines dried up and because of the warm wet weather we have had they have taken root and grown into potato producing plants. What does everyone in the GRIT nation think? If anyone knows what in the world is happening in my backyard, let me know. I think I will wait until an actual killing frost kills the vines to give them the longest time to grow potatoes bigger. The weather is not going to get cold for the next week and maybe longer. So let’s see what happens.

This is the last of the tomatoes, onions, and the start of the potato harvest. These potatoes were from one plant area which would have been a couple of layers. As you can see they are decent potatoes. The warm weather caused the onions to sprout again so I’m not sure that they will be any good to eat and certainly not good to store. The only thing really left to harvest is the green beans that I let mature for dry bean storage for winter soups.

I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.

— David Hobson

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