This winter we were extremely excited to find purple and magenta potatoes and decided we wanted to let some sprout and plant them.

These are the magenta potatoes, freshly cut. The protruding bits you see emerging from the skin are the eyes beginning to sprout. You can cut the potato between the eyes then allow them to seal over and plant individually.

Spot the sealed over cut on the left. 

You can also plant whole sprouting potatoes. We decided to do a combination of both.

Here are the purple potatoes. Aren’t they just gorgeous? They taste really good too – like potatoes, only better. 

Here are some being sauted up in some coconut oil after being steamed: 

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We have also baked them and mashed them and love how they keep their colour. 

Oh, and we also had some sprouting sweet potatoes for good meausure.  Now everything is ready to go in the ground…..

Only we are not actually going to be putting them in the ground…. 

Last season we grew amazing sweet potatoes directly in the ground but found it quite demanding to have to dig up the bed to harvest our crop. Being in favour of a less digging approach we have opted to grow vertically instead. Another reason we want to try this approach is to save water. It is far easier to use just the right amount of water when you can see exactly how much space your crop is taking up in the garden.

The idea with vertical growing is that as the potato plants get taller you add more soil, which encourages them to spread up the container. 

There are a couple of ideas we want to play with here, namely building a vertical container with fencing off-cuts  and wood stakes, and using some tall washing baskets we found on our scavenger hunts. We like their height and strength and the idea of the leaves being able to grow through the gaps. 

THE LOW DOWN ON PLANTING POTATOES IN WASHING BASKETS

We gathered our baskets, some 6 month old compost, well rotted and decomposing leaf mould and straw. 

The straw is being used to line the outer edge of the inner circle (sounds quite mystical, hey?). This is to keep the moisture in while allowing air to circulate. 

We then filled the centre with compost and leaf mould……

… and placed our potatoes around the edge. The sprouts will soon grow leaves and they need to be facing upwards. We placed them facing outwards, toward the gaps and asked them very nicely to please shoot their leaves out the basket so we could admire them. 

Grow, babies!

We then covered again with more compost and leaf mould and finally a nice thick top mulching of straw. 

We like how we can move the baskets around and see where they grow best. We will keep you posted on their progress. 

Have you planted potatoes this season? What are your favourite tips and tricks? We’d love to hear from you!

Till next time, 

Happy Gardening!

Shireen & Kathy

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