Growing your own potatoes is remarkably easy, whether you start them from seed or from scraps of your own potatoes! And as you can imagine, when you roast them up with just a little simple butter, salt, and garlic, they’re delicious!
Not too long ago, I posted a few pictures on my personal Instagram of my son and I harvesting the first crop of potatoes from our backyard garden. And immediately I got hit with a wave of messages of friends asking how to grow your own potatoes. A lot of them hadn’t thought about it, but it’s really ridiculously easy to do!
Growing Potatoes From Potatoes
A lot of store-bought potatoes are treated with sprout-inhibitors that make growing new potatoes difficult. Check out the organic potatoes or your farmer’s market potatoes if you think you’re going to grow potatoes, because you need sprouting potatoes to grow more potatoes. Or you can always go online and buy some seed potatoes, which are potatoes specifically grown to sprout so they can be replanted.
Wait until your potatoes have sprouted, and then use a sharp knife to chop them into small sections with no more than three eyes each. You don’t want your sprouts competing with each other! Then wait about three days for the potato to cure, or for the cut to dry so that it’s more resistant to disease and rot. Then plant the potatoes cut side down in a hole, cover with a couple inches of soil, and sprinkle with a little flower food. And wait.
I chopped up two Yukon gold potatoes in my stash that had started to sprout, left them in the pantry for a few days, and then stuck them in the ground. And when the rest of my plants came sprouting up, sure enough, there came a great crop of potatoes!
Taking Care of Your Potatoes
Make sure that the roots and potatoes stay covered with dirt as they go, and keep building up dirt piles at the base of the plant. This is called “hilling.” It makes sure your potatoes stay out of the sun. Sunlight causes the potatoes to turn green, which builds up toxic solanine. That can cause severe stomach upset if you eat them. I had that happen off of store-bought potatoes a couple times, before I knew what to look for, and it’s a miserable experience.
You’ll know your potatoes are almost ready to harvest when they start sprouting flowers. The flowers can be white, yellow, or purple, depending on the variety.
About three weeks after the plant stops flowering and the flowers die off, you can dig up new potatoes. If you want mature potatoes, wait for the vines on top to die off – so that they’re not stealing away the energy the potatoes need to grow – and then you can dig up your potatoes.
Digging Up Your Potatoes
Your potatoes will all grow underground. If your plant grows any kind of green fruit, do not collect those – they’re full of the toxic solanine compound that turns potatoes green when they are exposed to the sun. If your plant grows fruit, you should remove it, especially if you have children around.
When the foliage of your plant dies back, they’re ready to harvest. Using your hands or a digging fork, dig gently around the edge of the potato growing area, and uncover the potatoes. Make sure you don’t accidentally stick the potatoes as you’re digging.
Once you’ve dug up your potatoes, let them dry for an hour or two before brushing off the dirt and storing them. Don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them, as the water can cause them to rot. Store them in a cool, dark, dry place until you’re ready to eat them – and they can last for up to six months. You’ll want to let them cure at least a week before eating them.
My little guy was so happy to help dig up our first batch of potatoes! We just dug up the potatoes around the roots of one plant this last time, because we wanted the rest of the potatoes to mature a little bit longer. We’ll probably dig those up in the coming weeks, before the weather and the ground start getting really chilly.
We let the potatoes sit out for a bit in order to dry out, and then brushed off the dirt, brought them in, put them in a bowl, and stuck them in the cupboard. And then it was time for us to cook them up and see what we had grown!
Cooking Your Potatoes
There’s not much difference in cooking your own home grown potatoes and cooking any other potatoes – except for the flavor! They have such a wonderful rich buttery flavor! Well, and you have to check them for any green spots or developed sprouts. Remember, these guys don’t have any preservatives or artificial sprout inhibitors on them so they’re going to behave differently than the potatoes you usually buy. Get rid of any potatoes that have turned green. Remember the toxic solanine compound.
My favorite way to cook up fresh potatoes is just to chop them up and spread them out on a pan, drizzle them with melted butter, toss them with sea salt and garlic, and stick them in the oven. Simple, but amazing, and it lets the fresh flavor of these beauties shine through!
[lt_recipe name=”New Potatoes with Butter, Garlic, + Salt” summary=”Growing your own potatoes is remarkably easy, whether you start them from seed or from scraps of your own potatoes! And as you can imagine, when you roast them up with just a little simple butter, salt, and garlic, they’re delicious!” total_time=”45M” print=”yes” image=”https://homefrontcooking.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/New-Potatoes-1414-1024×683.jpg” ingredients=”1 lb new Yukon gold potatoes, washed and quartered;1/2 cup butter, melted;6 cloves garlic, finely minced;sea salt to taste” ]Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.;Scatter the chopped potatoes over the baking sheet and drizzle with the melted butter. Add the garlic and sprinkle with sea salt, and toss to coat.;Roast the potatoes for 15 minutes, and then toss with a spatula. Roast an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are brown and crispy at the edges.;Serve and enjoy![/lt_recipe]
These are delicious on their own, but you can always toss them with a little bit of Parmesan and parsley if you want a little extra flavor.
My husband never had fresh harvested potatoes before and certainly never backyard potatoes before I grew ours this past year, but I think, between making him bruschetta from our fresh tomatoes and home grown basil, and making him these potatoes, he’s definitely sold on keeping those as staples in our home garden!
What’s your favorite type of potato? Would you grow your own?