We think of potatoes mostly baked and slathered in sour cream or whipped with a big pat of butter. But they start out as a plant. And this time of year the potato plants are making a show of blooming in the garden.
You have to look farily closely to see the blossoms. But our local pollinators will certainly find them and, if left to their own devices, these plants would make seeds. But most growers simply plant “seed potatoes,” which are nothing more than potatoes left over from last year that sprout into new plants.
This year we bought Yukon Gold seed potatoes from Wood Prairie Farm in Maine. I don’t know if these potatoes just like our compost, or if they come from some kind of super genetic strain. They are the biggest potato plants I have ever seen, nearly three feet tall. Meanwhile, the plants from spuds we saved from our crop of red potatoes last year aren’t nearly half as big.
It will be very interesting to see how many potatoes we have at the end of the season. Even more interesting, since we are no longer eating starchy carbohydrates, is what we might do with them all.