Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Potatoes Blooming

Blue potato blossom
It was until I visited the Nippori Farmers Market that I remembered how good a potato could taste. Wandering among the stalls there I spotted a grower from Hokkaido selling red, pink, and yellow varieties. In Michigan I'd grown blue ones in a tower for their color as much as for their flavor, and was delighted to see them again. I bought a bag of each kind, and we feasted heartily over the next week.

Somehow in our feeding frenzy, though, I managed to save back one of each for planting in the garden. I cut them in half aiming for a larger crop, and set them in the lasagna bed. Little shoots were already pushing out from an assortment of eyes, which meant they hadn't been treated with a non-sprouting chemical. Still, I worried a bit until I saw the first dark purple shoots emerging from the soil to find the sun. Interplanted with dill, fennel and chamomile to attract predators and pollinators alike that end of the row is a miniature forest of leaves and blooms. My mouth is watering at the thought of Maan's potato salad with some of the bergamont from the west wall bed. I'm also dreaming of another cold soup recipe using that damned mint, but all in due time. For now, I'll just enjoy the flowers.


Anjuli said...

so you just put a potato in the ground and it sprouts? You cut it in half? How long does it take?

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

Yup, that's about it. You don't have to cut it in half, but I did to increase the number of plants and therefore the number of potatoes. When they blossom it means that 'new potatoes' can be eaten, but the bulk of the potatoes (further under the soil) should be left in place.

At home in Michigan we harvested the potatoes near fall when the foliage died back naturally and Jack Frost was nipping at our heels. Here in Tokyo I'm not sure, but I'll keep you posted.