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We are trying a new experiment—planting potatoes in Winter!

You’ve heard it said that necessity of the mother of invention. I also happen to believe that curiosity is also a precursor to experimenting, and either big failures or new new information will ensue.

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🥶 Planting Potatoes in Winter 🥶

A week or so ago, while straightening (ahem—that equals desperately moving things around in the hopes of it looking less crowded) the garage/shop area of our cabin-in-progress, I gasped! For what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a box full of taters, with eyes stretching clear…past the candy roaster squashes, and up toward the ceiling! Some of those sprouts were ten inches long!

Surprised cat
What are those potatoes doing??

If these had been grocery store potatoes, I wouldn’t have worried, but they weren’t!

These were potatoes that we’d planted, nurtured, and grown by the sweat of our brow and the ache of our backs! And stingy taters they were at producing this year, so I wasn’t ready to let them go to the compost heap just yet!  Homestead Report—Spring Clean-up, Terrace Gardens, and Personal Grow Beds

Just Ask Farmer Google

I did what every other curious homesteader would have done in my boots: I consulted Farmer Google to see whether I could plant them in the bleak midwinter!

As you know, if you search high and low, you’ll find whatever you want to find on Google—so I searched until I found a website assuring me that, I could, indeed, plant potatoes in winter—in January, no less! You can read the article from Farm Life DIY, about How to Grow Winter Potatoes

This article explained that you can try growing potatoes in Winter if your soul temp is at least 40 degrees. Now, I’m going to say that I have no idea what our current soil temperature is. The surface has definitely been frozen at times, but several inches below the surface of the ground, I’m not sure. 🤷‍♀️ We have a soil thermometer somewhere out there, and technically I should check it. But I didn’t. Here’s why:

  • No matter what, some of the sprouted potatoes were shriveled, so we can’t really eat them. We were going to lose them to compost heap or try to do something with them, so I’m not worrying about the temperature of the soil. If they die, they were going to anyway, and all we are out is time.

If you want more guaranteed success, though, I’d recommend testing the temperature of your soil.

*Soil thermometers are inexpensive and this is one type you can purchase. Clicking the image will take you to Amazon (affiliate) link.

  • When the other day hit a balmy 48 degrees, we felt motivated to dig right in! (Groan…)
  • We sorted out the potatoes that were still good and set them aside.
  • Then Adam and I set out for one of our raised beds and dig a trench about 6”-8” deep. In went those taters, and that was that.
  • We came back the next day and added a bunch more composted leaf mulch to about 6” more on top of that, so those spuds are buried a good foot down. We didn’t want them to get the shivers!

Will Our “Planting Potatoes in Winter” Experiment flourish or flop?

Only time will tell!

You’ll have to check back here to stay tuned.

*From the website I referenced above, where they planted their potatoes on January 18, they harvested them in 128 days. They also got several inches of snow on top of their tater beds in February, but I could not figure out where these folks live who were writing the article. Pretty sure it’s not Hawaii.

We got four inches of snow on February 18th that was accompanied by single-digit temperatures that stayed on the ground for a week. We aren’t accustomed to weather like this.

https://farmlifediy.com/how-to-grow-winter-potatoes/

Like I said, check back come May and let’s see what these taters do for us!

I’m cautiously excited since this will be a first for us.

Leaving our Potatoes All Winter!

One year we actually left our potatoes in the ground all Winter long! They stayed buried under the dirt and most did not freeze. A few near the surface froze.

All we had to do was go out in the freezing cold and dig those taters out of the frozen ground! Let me tell you—that was fun about once. Ever after, when I needed a few potatoes for soup, all of my cheerful digging volunteers scattered like cockroaches in the sun!

Not to mention that once the plants die back, finding potatoes is a challenge. Digging blindly is not the best way to handle things, especially when the ground is hard! We’d try that again in very loose soil, or mulch/straw. But, experience is the best teacher, isn’t it?

That being said, it’s largely because we are wimps that we find all of this to be difficult! Here is a photo of a farmer in Siberia, digging his winter potatoes out from the snow. The article is actually quite interesting, about how the minister of one region’s food supply in Siberia is urging people to get back to growing!

Read that interesting article http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/features/f0053-get-planting-minister-urges-a-return-to-soviet-era-food-policy-to-grow-potatoes/

Here’s our experiment in pictures, so far.

Let’s Eat Taters!!

After all that digging, we had worked up an appetite for some spuds! We picked a few out and roasted them for lunch with a whole bulb of garlic. That was so delicious! But this was a case of enjoy now, pay later. All night long later! We split the bulb of garlic, so each ate half. I’m afraid my digestive tract didn’t handle that too well, and my husband may have suffered for that one! 😆

Potatoes in the Bible

I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but I consulted a concordance, and discovered that potatoes are not mentioned in the Bible. But, I came across a gem right away that I am sharing below.

)I get to tell the children’s story this Sabbath at church. Guess what I’ll be bringing? )

Potatoes!

And I will share the following story! I may even be able to rustle up a rotten potato for the full unforgettable effect. 🥔 👃 I like to tell memorable stories.

 

Children’s Story – The Potatoes

A teacher struggled with knowing how to teach her kindergarten students to get along. It was so bad that she decided to let her class play a game. The children were instructed to bring to class the next day a plastic bag containing potatoes. Each potato was to be given the name of a person that the child did not like, so the number of potatoes each child carried in his sack varied and reflected the number and names of his enemies. Some had two potatoes, some three, while some others had up to five potatoes.

The children were required to carry the potatoes with them in the plastic bag wherever they went for one entire week.

At first the children thought it was fun carrying around these potatoes with names on them, but as the days passed by they tired of the game and began to get sick of carrying around their burdens, especially when an unpleasant aroma wafted from the plastic bag as their potatoes started to rot. There were many complaints, especially from the children who had to carry up to five potatoes, making their bags heavy. At the end of the week there was much relief when the game finally ended.

The teacher asked the children, “How did you feel while carrying the potatoes with you for one week?” The children shared their frustrations of the trouble that they had to go through carrying the heavy and smelly potatoes. Then the hidden meaning behind the game was told to the children.

She said, “Carrying rotten potatoes with you constantly is exactly what happens when you carry hatred for somebody inside your heart. The stench of hatred pollutes your heart as well as your body. You carry it with you wherever you go and it affects everything you do. If you cannot tolerate the smell of rotten potatoes for just one week, can you imagine what it is like to have the stench of hatred in your heart for your whole lifetime?”

Forgiveness may be something we give to other people, but it is really a gift to ourselves. Holding onto anger and unforgiveness destroys both health and happiness, causing wretchedness that no one enjoys being around. Each day brings new opportunities for us to forgive and forget.

God is willing to create a new heart and to renew a right spirit in all who ask Him and remove that root of bitterness that so many carry with them.

Steps to Life.
https://www.stepstolife.org/article/childrens-story-the-potatoes/

Get planting, get outside, and go grow something!

~Laurie~

11 Replies

  1. This sounds so great, I want to try planting potatoes! But the one sentence that got me laughing was ” straightening … ahem—that equals desperately moving things around in the hopes of it looking less crowded” because I’m always straightening things hoping that happens LOL! The children’s potato story is something everyone should read and follow.

  2. I love how you describe your straightening process – “ahem—that equals desperately moving things around in the hopes of it looking less crowded.” I do the same thing! And those photos are fantastic. I hope they taste as good as they look.

  3. Interesting. I am interested to hear how this experiment turns out. BTW, you can remove those sprouts and the potato will just grow more. I have read that when they get that long in a cupboard or bag it is best to remove them before planting. Something about too much energy used to get that long, etc.

I’d be delighted if you took the time to write a few words. I read every comment, and so many times I find that I gain encouragement from what’s shared. ❤️