This year we grew Lady Finger potatoes on our homestead. Not because we sought that variety out…but because our local farm store had an amazing sale of seed potatoes at the end of spring, and lady finger variety was all that was left. So , like the almost-a-farmer I am, I thought ‘why not”!
Up until now we have only grown red potatoes – it is what we had previously bought at the supermarket and we enjoyed their flavor and the texture of their flesh. We had grown them in rows and in tires with great success. (See here for video guides on growing potatoes). The only hassle we had each year was the battle against the Colorado Potato Beetle. Some years we lost that battle when we were not vigilant each and every day removing beetles and grubs and trying the squash eggs. So other than that, I think my normal brown thumb could be called a green thumb when it came to growing potatoes.
So in early summer, and well past the premium planting time for spuds, I found myself with some packets of sprouting seed potatoes of a variety I had not grown or in fact eaten before. A little research showed them to belong to the ‘fingerling’ variety of potatoes, and seems they there in demand by chefs and sell well at farmers markets – so maybe this was the start of a specialist crop I could use to turn a small profit. For more information on these varieties see this great site.
I made the decision to plant them into four tires. I use a piece of weed cloth under each tire then fill it with compost, horse manure and a little soil that is all well mixed. I do not stack the tires as they grow – I have no success with that method in the past. I then plant and add lots of straw or dry grass clippings to the top as mulch. These little babies grew fast and strong under these conditions. I watered each week as we had a dry summer and still went into battle with the Colorado Potato Beetle…and this year won. As an aside, the chickens love to eat those grubs and beetles and so one problem became a bonus food source.
Very late in the summer, when the plants had started to die back, I harvested. I could have waited longer, but we were out of potatoes in our pantry and I was starting to clean up our garden beds. The crop was fantastic with many pounds of good sized potatoes and quite a few pounds of smaller fingers picked, washed and left to harden off.
As they say “the proof is in the eating” and these little gems are WONDERFUL. I know how so much better fresh home grown vegetables taste, and even our past potatoes have been superior to store bought spuds, but these finger potatoes are outstanding. They have a buttery flavor and firm flesh. They are perfect fried up alongside bacon and eggs and make a wonderful potato salad.
Rather the try and sell my excess, I have decided to keep the remainders to seed next years expanded crop…unless I eat them all first!
Want to get your own growing?
Here is a link to 10 X Organic Mixed Colors Seed Potatoes that are sale through Amazon. These are produced in the US and contain purple, yellow and red fingerlings.