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growinggreen
GROWING GREEN: Potential for potatoes

A couple of years ago I was cleaning out the fruit cellar and found some soft, wilted and sprouting potatoes. I was all set to toss them into the compost bin when I paused and looked a bit more closely.
This wasn’t just future compost – it was a potential crop of potatoes.
All I needed was a pot, some soil and a little sun and water and I could be serving home grown potatoes for Thanksgiving.
Or so went my plan. I don’t remember how many of these spuds I planted, but it produced a small crop.
This inspired me. If I could have some success planting in August what would happen if I started in March?
Last year I managed to scrounge 3 potatoes to plant in April. I put the pot at the side of the house, watered whenever I walked by, ensured it got some sun and often ignored it.
Not optimal, but it worked – I had quite a crop of potatoes by mid-September. I actually filled a large bowl. I was so impressed I took pictures.
Now we come to 2014. I’m already looking through cupboards for potential spuds. And I’m going to ask my neighbors for help. They must have the odd potato that they think is ready for the scrap heap.
I may use seed potatoes – this would have the advantage of being tested for disease, give me a cultivar name and possibly be pre-sprouted.
I’ll give them good soil (they’re heavy feeders), plenty of sun, water regularly and wait for fall before I harvest them. And when my guests ask why the mashed potatoes taste so good, I’ll quietly smile.
Growing Green is a regular feature prepared by the  Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). This week’s column was written by Marg Verbeek, treasurer of the society.

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