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Vermont Garden Journal: Unique Potatoes

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Garden expert Charlie Nardozzi explores the great variety of unique potatoes that are easily grown in the garden.

If you thought potatoes were just those boring spuds found in bags in the grocery store, think again. Potatoes have a rich history and continue to be at the forefront of controversy around the world. This common global food has been the center of mass migrations of people and lawsuits challenging multi-national corporations. Not bad for an Andean spud.

Yes, potatoes hail from the Andes but now are grown around the world. What we know as the white, round potato, is really just one possible color and shape for potatoes. We've all seen the red, blue and finger-shaped varieties in markets. The beauty is all these varieties can be easily be grown in your garden. Try the 'Adirondack Blue' or 'Adirondack Red' varieties for their colorful skin and flesh. For a taste treat grow fingerling varieties. 'Swedish Peanut' and 'Rose Finn' are two varieties that have dry flesh, small shape and are great for roasting.

There are even varieties that are high in protein and vitamin C, such as Butte, and one that repels Colorado potato beetle. 'King Harry' is not-genetically modified. It has hairy leaves that potato beetles don't like laying eggs on. The result is a delicious potato crop without needing sprays.

If you think you need acres to grow potatoes, try again. Using potato grow bags I was able to grow 13 pounds of spuds in a 3 foot diameter grow bag one summer. That's a lot of baked potatoes and a tinier way to grow some spuds!

So include some unusual potatoes in your garden this summer. Many varieties will last into winter with proper storage and you'll be making colorful mashed potatoes for the holidays.

And now for this week's tip, if you haven't already, start your onion seeds indoors. Growing onions from seed allows you to grow different varieties and it's easier than you think. They need 8 to 10 weeks of indoor growing before transplanting in the garden. Keep them well watered, growing under lights.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about Veronicas. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Resources:

Broadcast on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 at 5:57 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 at 9:35 a.m.

The Vermont Garden Journal with Charlie Nardozzi is made possible by Gardener's Supply, offering environmental solutions for gardens and landscapes. In Burlington, Williston and Gardeners.com.

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