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February 2018
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Episode 145 Potatoes

In today’s episode I talk about potatoes. 

Now its been a while since I’ve grown potatoes so excuse any mistakes.  The great thing is that since my time some new methods have come to light to grow these wonderful spuds.  I’ve got Yukon gold seed potatoes pre-ordered this year and I could not be more excited!

  • Potatoes are old, having been found in Peru and Chilean ruins dating to 500 BC.  They are inherently an Incan food. 
  • The Spanish found potatoes when they arrived in Peru in 1532.
  • The potato (like the family member tomato) was NOT well received in Europe for quite a while.
  • In the late 1500’s the Irish readily adopt the potato.  There are reasons.
  • Potatoes had to be REintroduced to the New World in the 1700’s.
  • How lack of adoption of potatoes as a food source led to the collapse of a major European power.
  • In the 1800’s the potato famine hit Ireland.  At least a million died.
  • Idaho’s potato industry owes much to the Irish famine.
  • My personal experiences with potatoes
  • How to grow them.
  • The varieties.





18 comments to Episode 145 Potatoes

  • We are about to put in a new potato bed at our place.  While we are currently practicing the “Paleo” diet techniques, we still grow and store potatoes for the sheer caloric needs in the event of an emergency.  Plus.. an occasional bowl of homemade potato salad is a nice treat!  🙂  Loved the show.. learned a lot of things I didn’t know about potato seeds-

  • GoneWithTheWind

    I’m going to catch hell for this especially considering my gaelic roots; but there weren’t a million deaths in the great Irish potato famine.  In fact the death toll didn’t even come close.  Most of the unaccounted for simply immigrated to the U.S.  Studies of the records and cemetaries show that the death rate was slightly higher during the great famine but not even close to a million.  It was a useful exxageration to further defame the British. 

  • Matt Smith

    Glycoalkaloids are concentrated in the skin and you might consider avoiding eating the skins.  While the glycoalkaloids have been mostly bred out of Russets, they are much higher in gold & red potatoes. 

  • Jason

    I really don’t spend too much time worrying about glycoalkaloids.  When you eat fried green tomatoes like we do in the south its understood you will consume some.  LOL

  • Jason

    Windy – sources?  I’ve read as low as 750,000 and as high as 1 million.  All in all Ireland lost about 4-5 million due to either immigration or death.  I think its just as easy to estimate low as high.  After all, not all people would have been subject to proper burial either.  We may not ever know unless we get a time machine.

  • Northernhomesteader

    Still too much frozen ground and snow here for us to think about potatoes yet…but they are definitely on the list.

  • Matt Smith

    Well, it’s basically insecticide.  And there is evidence that low levels of these toxins can be quite damaging, e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20650190

  • Mil

    I’ve been thinking about growing potatoes. German Butterball is a new fave.  I know a lot of you guys are doing the paleo thing, but I love them boiled, slightly mashed with butter and sesame oil with eggs on top….

  • Jason

    Love potato salad!

  • Jason

    OMG that sounds divine. 

  • Jason

    Not frozen here but certainly too wet!

  • Ben Hillstrom

    I tried potato bins last year with not so great results.  I have a very small property therefore a very small garden so it was nice to contain the little space hogs.  My bins ended up 3 x 3 x 3 burying the potatoes about every 6-8″ of growth (which seemed about right as I had potatoes all the way up to the top).  The bins do dry out pretty quickly so I think my downfall came from the minimalist approach I took to my garden last year (that really isn’t a different way of saying I was lazy 🙂 I grew 2 bins one with burbank (white / late) and 1 with pontiac (red / mid).   I planted 4 halved potatoes in each bin.  I ended up with 25 lbs of reds and 15 lbs of whites.  Not a total loss but I had hoped for more.  Couple of quick tips:  I built mine with pallet wood, this worked good but don’t skimp on the support posts.  Also I used inch and a 1/4 screws and next year will use 2″.  I new there was going to be some outward pressure but underestimated a bit.  I will also plant more seed potatoes per bin ( it was a little crowded on top but there was alot of wasted space inside the bin when I dug it out), and I will likely pay better attention to moisture levels in the bin.  Thanks alot for the great podcast and site, I really enjoy the historical perspective you try to give everything.  Ben

  • Self sufficient

    i hve been thinking about growing potatoes. so thanks for the information.

  • Jason

    Thanks for your insight.  This will help me during my planting this year! 

  • Jason

    No problem!

  • […] Potatoes a podcast by The Self Sufficient Gardener […]

  • Mil

    It is. I am making more right now! German Butterballs and Nicolas. Supposedly these Nicolas are lower glycemic potatoes.

  • […] up on some back episodes of The-Self-Sufficient Gardener Podcast which was nice.  The episode on Potatoes made me think of some parallels between the Irish Potato Famine and our current trials and […]