Sunday, June 12, 2016

Growing Yukon Gold Potatoes in Central Texas

Yukon Gold Potatoes went from my
garden soil to mashed potatoes on the
dinner table in approximately 20 minutes.

My tiny veggie patch, now in its second year, continues to be a lot of fun. This spring I added Yukon Gold Potatoes and cucumbers to the mix. (More on cucumbers later.)  

The potatoes were very low maintenance and a lot of fun to grow. I sowed the potato seed in late January in potato grow bags, buying into the hype that periodically rolling up the edges of the bag and adding soil would increase yield. The bag method did not increase yield, but it sure made digging up the potatoes in mid-May easy. 

Digging up the potatoes felt a bit like searching for buried treasure. Brushing away soil to reveal the first golden lump brought on a rush excitement. The above photo shows part of my harvest. Note the wee potato babes at the bottom of the column!

Friends attempting veggie gardens for the first time often ask what I'd recommend they try growing with their kids. 
  • Potatoes are ace for the experience of digging them up and because they make for dreamy mashed potatoes--a food I remember loving as a kid. 
  • Other kid friendly favorites that should be started at this time of year in Central Texas include butternut squash (I grow Butterbush--a more compact variety) and sugar pumpkins. Both sprout quickly--within 2-4 days--rewarding impatient first-time gardeners. Both make for good eating. As an added bonus, there's something very fun about growing your own Halloween pumpkin or bringing a pumpkin pie to family Thanksgiving made from pumpkins from your own garden. 
One more plug for potato grow bags: they make growing potatoes on an apartment balcony or in a very small backyard with poor soil conditions possible. Give it a try!

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