Posts tagged Territorial Seed
Home-Grown Potato Posh

Happy Potatoes Growing Early last summer on a trip to Napa Valley with my garden friends, we all bought German Butterball potato seed starts to take home and grow in our own gardens. German Butterball potatoes are posh to potato growers and fancy chefs for their unique golden color, natural buttery taste, flaky texture, and easy storage. It was a challenge I had to try.

You can grow potatoes in the ground, but try growing them in a container, for more control and convenience.

How To Grow Potatoes In A Container:

1) Start with a container that is 20" to 30" tall with drainage. It can be a plastic nursery container like the one I used, or a plastic trash can, half wine barrel, etc.

If you do use old containers, be sure to clean, scrub, and rinse well your container. Use a one part bleach to five parts water mixture to sanitize your container against disease, fungus, and whatever was previously in your container. Never use a container that had been used for chemicals or pesticides previously.

2) Fill your container with several inches of loose clean organic soil mixed with peat moss.

3) Before planting, I left my German Potato seed starts in a cool dry area for a few weeks to develop nice eyes. Place your ready potato seed starts in your container several inches deep in your container.

4) Seed potatoes are best bought in late winter or early spring, either from your favorite nursery or seed catalogs like Seed Savers Exchange or Territorial Seed. Always use certified, disease-free potato seeds about the size of a chicken egg. You might be disappointed if you use store bought potatoes which have sprouted eyes for yield and diseases reasons.

5) Your potato starts will start to grow, and when they have about 6-8 inches of foliage, add more of your soil mix covering again 1/2 of your stems and foliage. Repeat this every time you see a burst of new growth with your foliage. Each time you add your soil mixture, top feed your potato plants with 1/2 cup of cotton seed meal or your favorite liquid fertilizer. By doing this you encourage your potato plants to flower. Once they flower, stop fertilizing them.

6) Keep your potato plants moist in their container, but not soggy. Always have them in full sun. During your growing process, you can poke around for your potatoes and dig up a few to look at your progress.

7) After your plants stop flowering and their foliage begins turning yellow, your potatoes are reaching maturity and their full size. At this point, stop watering, and let the foliage tops die back. Let your potatoes cure in their soil for a few weeks. Dig up your potatoes out by hand to harvest.

Garden-fresh potatoes delight your taste buds. Use your favorite potato recipe, and wow your family and friends.

I love to roast mine in the oven with a little olive oil, smoked sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Yum.

Please share if you grow potatoes in your garden or in a container. Please share which potato favorites you like to grow.

Do You Grow Fava Beans?

Colorful Fava Beans I generally plant fava beans in my potager every year. I think it is because they remind me of Europe. Fava beans were a staple in northern Europe before the introduction and popularity of the potato. When I'm in Europe, I see fava beans for sale at outdoor markets, and mentioned often on restaurant menus. While fava beans have been cultivated in Europe for centuries, fava beans are relatively new to the American farm, market, and garden.

I absolutely adore their catchy black and white flowers which remind me of black-eyed peas. Oh yes, and I love their slightly nutty buttery taste, too. Fava beans are also known by the names; Broad beans, Windsor beans, English beans, and a few others. (Please note, in some cases, a few people can be allergic to, or have an enzyme deficiency to fava beans. I have never experienced this or heard of this personally before, but have seen it in my reading).

In mild climates such as Southern California, I sow my fava beans in the fall, and patiently wait 150-180 days later, for harvest in spring. Fava beans are a legume, and require a long, cool growing season. Fava beans are also considered a beneficial cover crop, because they are high in nitrogen, and return nitrogen back, enriching the soil where they are grown.

I plant my fava bean seeds in a large full sun plot in my potager, where their height won't affect my other growing vegetables. Seeds need to be planted about 2" deep, and 6" apart. Allow for about 24" between your rows. Mature fava bean plants, do not require staking or support, and can reach 4' to 5' high yielding apple green pods, 6" to 8" inches long, with 5 to 7 beans in each pod.

The best reason for growing fresh fava beans is their wonderful taste and versatility. You can utilize young tender fava bean pods whole, or shelled when mature. Fava beans can be used in light spring pastas, hearty soups, pureed as a dip, sauteed as a vegetable, or used as a substitute for lima beans. It seems like every year, I see yet another creative way to use fava beans in spring recipes.

If you are not familiar with fava beans, I whole-heartedly recommend growing them sometime. Fava bean seeds are easy to find through your favorite seed catalogs. Territorial Seed and Botanical Interests both carry fava beans. In the garden, fava beans are quite striking in appearance, easy to grow and cultivate, add nitrogen back to your soil, and reap a tasty spring legume.

Please share if you  are familiar with, and grow fava beans in your garden? Please comment on your favorite way to enjoy fava beans.

Thank you for supporting VintageGardenGal's sponsors!