Frankly, my potato bed wasn’t quite as productive this year as I’d imagined it would be. It’s completely my fault. The soil is perfect, freely draining loam full or organic matter and worms to boot. The fact is that I was preoccupied with a few other things and dropped the ball on more than one occasion. Tisk, tisk!
For a start I didn’t get around to topping up the mulch until the plants were taller than they should be. Then when I finally did get around to it I had to loan mum part of the cage that enclosed the bed (Buddy-boy – her canine companion had a serious leg injury that required him to be confined to a small space). Well, it was a busy day, I took off to mum’s and completely forgot to replace the cage with another piece of wire. When I got home I found that my chooks had been in and scratched the begeebers out of the bed, leaving my poor plants bent, scratched and generally dismembered. I salvaged what I could, replaced the mulch, the wire and crossed my fingers. All in all it wasn’t a total disaster because we have been harvesting potatoes as we’ve needed them for a few months now. It’s just not the bumper crop I’d anticipated. I’ve got two new spots where I’ve been working on the soil and come winter I’ll have another go.
So, today I’ve been out and dug over my potato bed to harvest the last spuds for the season (actually there are still potatoes out in the orchard that we missed last year so that will probably get us through another couple of months). All I really had left in this bed were the Purple Congos and a handful of Kipflers. Like all good Europeans, we love potatoes! We like to grow a variety for various purposes. This year we planted Kipflers for salad, Bismarks – good all rounder’s especially for baking and mash, Kennebec – another good all-rounder but mostly for storing (ha, we ate them all) and Purple Congo for a bit of razzle-dazzle. Dutch creams are still my top pick. They are the creamiest most comforting potato you can eat. Don’t tell anyone or I might miss out on seed again this year =s yikes!
As you can see the Purple Congo potatoes are dark purple all the way through. They certainly will get tongues wagging. That’s predominantly why I grow them. I have found over the years that interesting things from the garden do get people thinking ‘well, maybe I should have a go’. And many do. Generally, I don’t like to force my interests on others but, when it comes to gardening and growing food I think that it’s important to everyone get involved in some way. Anyway, getting back to the Purple Congo, the great thing about them is that they will keep their colour as they cook. This can make for some very interesting dishes. Imagine – purple potato bread!
A few weeks back I made a potato bake for the family. I thought I’d make use of my mum’s zeppelins*, our mass of shallots and tomatoes. So, because my family already have an interest in growing vegies I thought give them a shove with the purple potatoes. I really wish I had taken some photos for you. The colour of the potatoes infused the cream as it baked making a beautiful pale purple custard. This contrasted well with my bright green and red tomatoes, et voila, ‘Disco Disco Potato Bake’.
By the end of dinner I had everyone writing down their seed potato orders. Really!
So now the bed is empty, has been raked over and is ready for a new crop. Hmm… what to plant next? I’ll get back to you on that one.
* Zeppelins are what we call mum’s overgrown zucchini – that, my friends is a whole other post