Friday, October 25, 2013

The Year of the Root Crops

I guess that's the only way to explain it.  Yes, root crops usually do well in our area of northern Minnesota.  Maybe we can't grow tomatoes, but our carrots can be the size of baseball bats.  (Slight exaggeration.)

Even with all the frustrating weather this past gardening season threw at us, the root crops in my garden came through with flying colors.

As of yesterday, all of them were harvested except the potatoes, so Papa Pea started digging them while I was . . . I was . . . what the heck was I doing?  Oh, well.  Not important.

Backing up to this spring when I planted the potatoes . . . only red ones this year, because we really do prefer them over whites.  (Supposedly reds have a lower starch content than white varieties, and we like the texture of reds.)  Anywho, I had very poor germination (maybe only 65%, I'm guessing) in the four fourteen foot long rows I planted.  Not too happy with that, but rather than trying to fill in the empty spots, I just went with what sprouted.

So yesterday my dear husband started digging the potatoes and got two of the four rows done before he went on to something else.  Today he and I worked together to get the last two rows harvested.

Although we haven't actually weighed the potatoes, Papa Pea estimates we got between 200-250 pounds!  And that is due to the size of the individual potatoes rather than the number.


These aren't all of them (of course), but just two buckets I grabbed to photograph.  Look at the size of those spuds!  (Hubby's glove is in the picture for size comparison.)  We have never, and I mean never, grown such consistently large potatoes.  Sure wish I knew why they grew so big this year.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining but would love to be able to do it again!

15 comments:

  1. Wow those are huge! You'll just need one for a meal for you both. Hopefully next year they'll grow as big.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sparkless - I'm thinking two will make a big pot of mashed potatoes!

      Delete
  2. Wonderful! I'm glad you got such a good crop. My red potatoes (Pontiacs) were huge. The Yukons were , eh, ok. It was the russets I didn't plant that were the stars. I had one that hubby and I SHARED--it was over 9" long and must have weighed 2 pounds. What a great year for both root crops AND us!! (I'm a cool summer lover and know you are too!)
    Enjoy those wonderful taters. (and carrots!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue - It would have been fun for you to have company over, serve baked potatoes as part of the meal and plop that 9" long one down on an unsuspecting guest's plate!

      Delete
  3. All that worry and stress and you still got a great yield. Now what, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, baked potatoes, hash browns, country fried, potato soup, potato salad, lots of things to do with potatoes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How long will they keep fresh? Or will you try to cook and freeze a portion (talk about needing a lot of freezer space!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen - No, I won't cook or freeze any of the taters. Under the right storage conditions in a root cellar (good temp and humidity), they should keep right up until spring when they will have the natural tendency to sprout. We have so many we'll be giving some of them away 'cause we would really bulk up (!) if we ate all 200-250 lbs. ourselves this winter!

      Delete
  5. 200-250 pounds?! I'm with tombstone livestock only adding potato pancakes to the list! Your harvest has been quite impressive in spite of all the twists and turns Mother Nature threw your way this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa - I guess that's why we gardeners keep plugging along even if it looks like things are failing! We had such a nice, long fall after our miserable spring and early summer that much more came to maturity in the garden than I ever would have guessed.

      Delete
  6. Ooops I forgot about Au Grautin, Scalloped, Stuffed Baked and French Fries

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tombstone Livestock - And as Lisa above suggested . . . potato pancakes. They have always been a favorite in hubby's family and I make them often, too.

      Potatoes are kinda like eggs when you think about it. You can do SO many things with them!

      Delete
  7. Mama Pea,

    Those are some really nice looking potatoes!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks you, Sandy! We're very pleased with them.

      Delete
  8. WOW! I am so envious! My potatoes have done poorly the past two years (another red fan here). Maybe I need to try whites next year!.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leigh - In the past I've always had more luck with the whites than reds as far as quantity produced. I usually did half red, half white. But we found ourselves eating all of the reds first (!) and then bemoaning the fact that all we had left were the whites. So this year I decided to just go with what we preferred. And I'm so glad I did!

      Delete