potato-grow

Growing Your Own Potatoes

As we enter into March, we are preparing to ship out our potato orders in a couple weeks.  A staple in most homes, potatoes are not only easy to grow but also very healthy for you.  Here are 7 reasons you should grow your own potatoes this growing season.

Reason #1: They’re easy to grow and require no machinery or processing

Potatoes are easy for one person to grow and harvest. Growing a family plot of potatoes requires minimal labor and attention. No heavy machinery needed! Unlike grain crops, potatoes don’t need to be milled, threshed, combined, or undergo any other processing. You just pull them out of the earth, brush off the dirt, and cook them.

Reason #2: Potatoes are packed with nutrition

Potatoes get a bad rap, but they’re actually an excellent source of important nutrients. A typical potato contains over half the day’s requirement of vitamins C and B6, and almost half of the potassium. They’re also a good source of fiber, folate, niacin, thiamin, magnesium, manganese, and more.

Reason #3: Potatoes are a healthful alternative to grains and beans

Many pre-packaged survival foods rely on grains and beans… but for some folks, that can be a problem. Potatoes are more easily digestible than beans, which often require soaking. For people with gluten sensitivities or who don’t do well with grains, potatoes are the perfect alternative.

Reason #4: They can be grown even when growing space is limited

It doesn’t require much land at all to grow potatoes, but if you live somewhere where there’s virtually no ground to till, you can still grow them. People grow potatoes in window boxes, food-grade buckets, cardboard boxes, tall homemade containers, and more.

Reason #5: Potatoes keep for months

Kept at the proper temperature in an old-fashioned root cellar, potatoes will last for months. (Keep them away from onions and garlic, however, or they’ll spoil faster.) And if you’re worried about using them up before they start to go bad, you have another option… see Reason #7.

Reason #6: They’re easy to dehydrate

Scrub ‘em, slice ‘em, and dehydrate them … either in a dehydrator or in your oven. Dehydrated, potatoes take up less space and can be stored in airtight containers for very long periods of time. In fact, they’ll last for ten years in a sealed #10 can.

Reason #7: Potatoes can be prepared in endless ways

Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, cook ‘em in a stew … fry them, scallop them, even make potato flour from them for baked goods. Make potato pancakes, potato dumplings, home fries … even potato vodka!

For this week only, we’re discounting the price of our entire stock of potatoes! For the next 7 days you can save 25% off of any package  of our heirloom potatoes. Just enter coupon code Spuds during checkout.

betty

Remembering Grandma’s Garden in the 1940’s

I’m always interested in history, especially our family history.  So I asked my Grandma Betty to write a short article about what it was like growing up in a poor family, back in the 1940’s and what she remembered about their garden.  Here’s what she had to say!  -Stephanie Benson

By Betty Gallentine

When I was a young girl back in the 1940’s, our large family of 9 kids had a huge garden. We lived off the land almost completely.  We had chickens, & my Dad and older brothers went hunting for squirrels & rabbits to add to the menu.  Once in a while they would bring home pheasants, which was tastier than the usual game.

In early April the parsnips that had been planted in the past fall were harvested.  We all loved them, usually were in soup or fried.  The garden was plowed with a hand steered wheel-less plow pulled by a team of horses.  After the plowing was done the horses pulled a harrow (commonly called a drag) to smooth out the plowed furrows.  The driver would ride the harrow standing up. I believe it cost $5.00 and was done by an old bachelor & his 2 large horses. They lived in the country a few miles out of town from our place.  I remember my Dad pulling me on the wooden row marker that he made, to mark the straight rows.  He needed a little extra weight on it so I got a ride.

The first vegetable planting was potatoes on Good Friday!  I used to drop 2 or 3 cut up potatoes in each hole, while my brothers or dad would mound them into hills.  When it got a bit warmer we would then do peas, green beans, radishes, carrots, and beets. I believe we traded some seeds but most was saved from the year before in jars. The garden had perfectly straight rows and there were boards in between, so we wouldn’t step on the planted garden. We planted a lot of popcorn & sweetcorn as well. Ground cherries, was one of my favorite, which Mom would make preserves out of.  We planted numerous varieties of tomatoes, lots of cabbage plants, both were started from seeds in the winter months and from some of the harvested cabbage we made sauerkraut in crocks. My Dad & Mom managed to plant rutabagas & turnips, (least of my favorites.)

Old-scan-Feb2015We all had jobs weeding, the older family members cultivated with a hand pushed one wheel plow that had a big front metal rimmed wheel, about the size of a bicycle wheel, and a 4-6 blade attachment for digging out the weeds and loosening the soil. but I mostly pulled weeds by hand so I wouldn’t hoe off a valuable plant, until I got old enough to hoe.  I remember watering everything from the cistern, (which was saved rain water.) We had metal sprinkling cans to carry the water down to the garden. We definitely prayed for rain so we wouldn’t have to water!

We had a very small house without a basement, so some of the canned vegetables were even stored under our beds.

Man reading book

Gardening Books You’ll Love

By Stephanie Benson

I absolutely love books.  Growing up, my parents always encouraged us to read and we were never wanting for material.  My book shelves are covered with either history, theology, education, sports, or gardening books.  When I become fascinated about a topic, I’ll find a few used books on Amazon and it always leads down another path as I try to fulfill my curiosity.  One of the great parts of my job is that I have access to lots and lots of books, especially gardening books!

If you are like us here in the Midwest, we still have time before we are able to get out in the garden.  But we can still prepare by reading and learning about new trends and old tricks that may interest us this growing season.

Here are a few of my favorites that we carry at Heirloom Solutions:

Week-By Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook
Knowing exactly when to start vegetable seeds indoors, transplant them into the ground, pinch off the blossoms, and pick for peak flavor is the secret to enjoying bountiful harvests all through the season. In Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook, authors Ron and Jennifer Kujawski eliminate the guesswork with weekly to-do lists that break gardening down into easily manageable tasks. Suitable for all gardening zones, the book offers easy instructions for setting up a perfectly personalized schedule based on your last frost date. Whether you’re wondering when to plant strawberries, check for tomato hornworm, or harvest carrots, you’ll see at a glance exactly when and how to do it, for the biggest yields and the best vegetable-growing experiences ever.

Year Round Vegetable Gardener
The first frost used to be the end of the vegetable gardening season — but not anymore! In The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, Nova Scotia–based gardener and writer Niki Jabbour shares her secrets for growing food during every month of the year. Her season-defying techniques, developed in her own home garden where short summers and low levels of winter sunlight create the ultimate challenge, are doable, affordable, and rewarding for gardeners in any location where frost has traditionally ended the growing season.

Mini Farming
Mini Farming describes a holistic approach to small-area farming that will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family’s food on just a quarter acre – and earn $10,000 in cash annually while spending less than half the time that an ordinary job would require. Even if you have never been a farmer or a gardener, this book covers everything you need to know to get started: buying and saving seeds, starting seedlings, establishing raised beds, soil fertility practices, composting, dealing with pest and disease problems, crop rotation, farm planning, and much more.

Herbal Antibiotics
In this empowering book, Stephen Buhner offers conclusive evidence that plant medicines, with their complex mix of multiple antibiotic compounds, are remarkably effective against drug-resistant bacteria. You’ll learn how antibiotic herbs such as aloe, garlic, and grapefruit seed extract represent our best defense against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Salmonella — and how their use will ensure that, in the future, antibiotic drugs will still be there when we really need them.

The Veggie Gardener’s Answer Book
For all of your gardening questions, The Veggie Gardener’s Answer Book has the answers, gathered together in a sturdy little book for handy in-the-garden reference. You’ll find helpful information on everything from planning and planting a vegetable garden to improving soil, caring for crops, organically controlling pests and diseases, and harvesting.

For more books and products please visit us at www.HeirloomSolutions.com.

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