We tend to throw out a lot of potatoes for some reason. Sometimes we use part of a bag and then don’t end up using the rest for some reason; kind of wasteful, but they are pretty cheap. So anyways, a while back in the spring we had a bag of Russet potatoes that we didn’t completely use, so I ended up tossing some of them into my compost pile. A few months later I noticed there were a couple large green plants sprouting up out of a corner of my compost pile… to my surprise, the potatoes had sprouted! If I took proper care of my compost pile this would probably never have happened but I’m really pretty lazy about it.
Just for fun I then planted both plants in an unused corner of my garden. A few weeks ago I finally decided to dig them up and see what happened; having never grown potatoes before I had no idea what to expect! I actually found a large number of small potatoes and a few larger ones, maybe 3-4 lbs total. They were scattered all over but connected via roots which made sense. Most were pretty oddly shaped but otherwise they looked pretty good, a very light brown color and a nice smooth texture.
I got them inside, cleaned them off, and made them into a large batch of mashed potatoes (the first time I’ve made mashed potatoes by myself!) and they turned out to be amazingly delicious. I did remove a little of the skins, but it turned out that the skins were very thin and tender, probably because they were so small; perfect for mashed potatoes. Seasoned with a little garlic, salt, and butter, the flavor was just excellent.
I have to admit the whole process was a lot of fun, and really no work at all; I did pile soil on them one time while they were growing because I had heard that was a good idea but that was pretty much the sum total of all my effort aside from the original planting. Otherwise I just let them go. I think I may have to try it again next year, potatoes aren’t an expensive food at the grocery store but there’s something fun about growing your own of anything and I really liked how tender they turned out to be. I’m a big fan of Russet potatoes but normally the skins are very tough and thick so this was a nice change. While I’m hardly some kind of expert gardener, I’m all for celebrating small successes, especially ones that you didn’t expect.