Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Potato Growing Experiment, Purple Majesty (Part 1)

I have a small garden but I've never ventured into growing my own potatoes, until now.  They're already so cheap at the store that it doesn't seem to be worth all the trouble.  BUT, I saw the Purple Majesty potatoes in the Gurney's catalog and thought they looked so interesting!  I know I won't find those in the store.

So after doing a little research I decided to give them a try.

I bought a 20 gallon Smart Pot online.  The 2 lb bag of seed potatoes came in the mail.  I set them on my counter top on a plate with paper towel underneath to let them sprout for about a week.
The little sprouts are a pretty purple color.  I wonder if the plants will be purple too.

I've heard around here (USDA zone 5b) that people plant anywhere between St. Patrick's day and Easter, so April 15th seemed good to me.  It did just snow again this week after all.  First I filled the bottom 1/3 of smart pot with a mixture of Miracle Grow garden soil (I would have preferred an organic one, but oh well.  It's what Walmart had.  This one seemed a bit wood chippey.) and about 1/3 compost.  I folded down the sides of the container so they wouldn't flop around. 

 The Smart Pot website suggests one potato per 3 gallons of container, so 6-7 potatoes.  I went with 6 since I don't want to make it too crowded.  I arranged them like this, and then buried them 3-5 inches under the soil as suggested by Gurney's.  I've read you can cut big ones in half and get two but I didn't want to deal with that.

I gave them a good watering.  I'm hopping for a yummy crop this year.  I might make some purple french fries!

Late July Update: They are almost all dead.  They grew a few inches tall but turned a sickly yellowish color and stopped growing.  I transplanted one into my regular garden bed and it's dying too.  I'm pretty sad and I wish I knew the cause.  I might try again next year.