I am thankful for potatoes. And for being done harvesting potatoes this year!
This picture is of most of my potato crop, minus what we have all ready eaten, and minus the 1/2 bushel DH dug for me a couple of weeks ago that is still sitting in the garage where he left them. These seven baskets, equaling about three and a half bushel, are what I've dug this week. They are sitting in the basement at the moment, where I left them when I hauled them in from the garden. Considering that each 1/2 bushel basket weighs about 30 pounds, well, I think I can justify giving them a pit stop by the basement door on their way from the garden to the cellar!
Plus, before they go into the cellar for storage (where they will last until approximately April) I want to sort through them and fill the baskets according to size and color of potato, not just leave them in the jumble they became as I tossed them into the baskets when removing them from the garden. The tiny ones are great just scrubbed and boiled as the base for potato soup, or for tossing into stews or pot pies without having to take the time to peel and dice large potatoes. The biggest ones are for baked potatoes and french fries. The medium ones are usually what end up on my table as mashed or boiled potatoes (skins on or off). And the small ones make good steamed potatoes with herbs.
I think this is probably the best potato harvest I have gotten yet, and I've been growing potatoes pretty much all of DD2's life. (She is 16 now). I had absolutely no potato bugs on the plants this year, and I'm convinced that had a lot to do with it. I'm not sure if my lack of potato bugs was a fluke, or if it had to do with all the horseradish I planted in my potato rows this year. I had heard that horseradish repels potato bugs, and last year I planted it at each end of each row of potatoes. Still had potato bugs, but mostly in the middles of the rows, with the plants closer to the horseradish not being as badly infested. So this year I put a little horseradish sprout about every four hill of potatoes. Since DH had run over part of my horseradish patch with the tiller, he had chopped the roots and effectively spread horseradish plants around the garden. Really all I did was take a trowel and remove them from where I didn't want them, and replant them in the potato rows.
Next year I will definitely repeat this technique, and see if I have the same results. To never have to pick potato bugs again would be wonderful!
Anyway, I am thankful for our abundant harvest of potatoes. We eat a lot of potatoes, in many forms. This many potatoes will definitely carry us through winter and leave me with potatoes to plant as seed for next year's crop.