A Guide to Growing Potatoes at Home

A guide to growing potatoes at home. Tap on a freshly dug potato and it feels crisp, like an apple right off the tree. Cook that spud up immediately and savor a subtle nuttiness in its tender flesh - almond-like in some varieties, walnutty in others, tantalizing flavors that are quick to fade.

| December 2003/January 2004

  • This guide to growing potatoes will have you cropping potatoes at home in no time.
    This guide to growing potatoes will have you cropping potatoes at home in no time.
    Photo by the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

  • This guide to growing potatoes will have you cropping potatoes at home in no time.

Growing potatoes at home really is lots of fun, Weaver says. This guide to growing potatoes takes you step-by-step through the process. Weaver's culinary students at Drexel University help out in his garden and are totally amazed at how easy it is to grow potatoes.

A Guide to Growing Potatoes at Home

Tap on a freshly dug potato and it feels crisp, like an apple right off the tree. Cook that spud up immediately and savor a subtle nuttiness in its tender flesh - almond-like in some varieties, walnutty in others, tantalizing flavors that are quick to fade. So says William Woys Weaver, food historian and heirloom vegetable expert who tended 54 varieties of heirloom potatoes in his Pennsylvania garden last summer.

"Growing potatoes at home really is lots of fun," Weaver says. His culinary students at Drexel University help out in his garden, and those who have not previously grown potatoes are totally amazed. "It's like digging for gold," he says.

And anyone can do it. Potatoes are high-yielding veggies that really are easy to grow and store, and contrary to conventional wisdom, they do not require a lot of land.



A pound of seed stock, which takes about 10 feet of planting space in a row, can produce 15 to 25 pounds of delicious tubers. (Weaver's book, Heirloom Vegetable Gardening, has an excellent chapter on growing potatoes. See MOTHER'S Bookshelf, Page 94 in this issue.)

If you use organic growing methods, you'll have delicious tubers without the chemicals used on store-bought spuds, which are routinely treated with pesticides and antisprouting compounds, and which may have been in storage for so long they've lost much of their flavor.






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