The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Harvesting new potatoes

Potato flowerInternet sources tell me to harvest new potatoes when:

  1. The potatoes begin to bloom.
  2. The calendar changes to June.
  3. The peas are ripe.

I noticed the first flowers on our potato plants this weekend, so I decided to dig around and see what's there.  The result?  The potatoes are past the tiny new potato stage I love, and are already swelling into the half-fist-size zone.  I guess option 3 is the best indicator for my garden since the peas have been ripe for a week or two, which is just about when I should have harvested new potatoes.

Potato tubersMost people harvest new potatoes by grubbing them out from around the bases of plants, leaving some tubers in place to finish growing.  I opted to just yank out two plants since they were encroaching on my biggest tomato's growing zone.  This gave me a great opportunity to explore the benefits of my modified Ruth Stout method, and I'm totally sold on the heavy mulch.  The potatoes required just a little digging with the trake, but they came out clean and beautiful, with nary a spot of green.  The area is also nearly weed-free despite never being weeded (though I did toss a few more handfuls of grass clippings on insipient weeds a few weeks ago.)

I picked a bowlful of our stunning sugar snap and snow peas, cut up the first basil leaves of the year, and added the rest of the ingredients for a modified Green Bean and Potato Salad.  The taste of summer!

Sick of poopy water?  Your hens are too.  Treat them to a homemade chicken waterer.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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