Tuesday Garden Party- Tomatoes And Potatoes

Yep, you read that right- I’ve gotten my first ripe tomatoes and a couple of ripe mini peppers!! And only a couple weeks later than last year, which surprised me after our record-making spring.

But before I show you my tomatoes, I want to share with you a harvest picture emailed to me by a reader yesterday:

Sakura is learning to grow her own food and finding the joy in that- even amid the occasional frustrations. She shared with me that she recently realized some tags on her tomato plants were wrong and how that was making her complain until she realized:

“It could be way worse, my basket I use to pick from my garden could be empty! I was grateful to be able to grow a garden.”

And then she wrote, “Thank you for teaching me to enjoy and appreciate everyday…”

Ahhh. What a joy to receive emails like this- makes it all worthwhile! *smile* And Sakura certainly has a “cottage mentality,” don’t you think?

Now, on to the “tomato reveal:”

The big tomato on the right and the smaller one next to it are an ultra-early variety called “Glacier.” The big one was actually ripe last week, and this week I have a handful of other, smaller tomatoes. The flavor is OK- but of course tastes wonderful because there aren’t any others competing with it. *smile*

The small cherry tomato in the front is “Black Cherry” and I’m growing it because of my friend Shannen’s recommendation from last year. The plant is so out-of-control, I almost didn’t notice there was a ripe tomato in there! The color is closer to my favorite heirloom, Cherokee Purple, so I’m excited to try these.

And the three mini-peppers on the left were grown from the last of my “Tri-Color Pepper” seed packet (which I’ve only been able to find at Nichols Garden Nursery- at least the type that have very few seeds). This is the third year I’ve grown them (from the same packet!) and I love how they quickly ripen to full color because they are small – just like the ones they sell in those bags at the store. There are orange and yellow peppers, too, but I don’t know what I’ve got growing yet, besides this red one.

Last week was time to harvest the early potatoes. I got mine in later than usual and used a modified straw-planting method to try and keep the slug population down (which worked, by the way). When most of the potato tops have yellowed and died down, it’s time to harvest.The tops are usually mostly dead at this point in a normal summer- buy we’ve been on the cool side (uh-um…).

When I pulled back the straw that I used to hill-up the potato plants, this is what I found. I LOVE harvesting potatoes- it’s like a treasure hunt!

As you can see, starting the seed potato deeper in the ground and waiting to hill up with straw produced more tubers underground than when I plant shallowly and start the tubers with straw from the beginning. But having slightly dirtier potatoes is a small price to pay for plants that don’t get eaten by slugs as they’re trying to grow!

I harvested the early varieties- Yukon Gold and a red variety that I’ve forgotten the name of (oops…) – and got a wheelbarrow full. There are still some later russets in the garden and they are still flowering.

I did have a LOT of potatoes that I couldn’t use because they were rotten or so deeply scab covered that the bugs had gotten inside. It was definitely more than my normal losses. I’m wondering if this had to do with our above-average cool and wet spring (I don’t irrigate my potatoes)?

I also had a number of large potatoes that disintigrated into a white, gooey, really gross mess when I grabbed them from the soil, and I’ve NEVER had potatoes do that before.

Have any of you had this happen to your potatoes? What are you harvesting and/or making with the harvest?





  1. says

    It’s interesting that you mentioned having mushy potatoes. I had the same experience when I dug them out of a bed last week. However, the good potatoes were huge! I’ve never had them that big. Only a few wormy looking spots.

    The cherry tomato looks yumm!

  2.  says

    Sakura’s garden harvest is beautiful. Great job!

    I love the sight of those potatoes. I need to figure out a way to add them to my small space. How will you store them, since you have so many?

  3.  Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Kristia (@Family Balance)- I’ve had good luck storing them in old coolers out in the garage. Here’s where I wrote bout that:


    I know of people who keep them in the drawers of a second fridge, too. They’re fine when brought back to room temp.

    As for small space potatoes, I’ve read about growing them in a garbage can, and I really wanted to try that. I have space, however, that I need to use, so maybe one day… :-)

  4.  says

    Interesting about your potatoes. We grew ours all underground and didn’t have an issue, but also didn’t get as many as you did! Were the mushy ones above or under the soil?

    My dad always told me to keep the potato plant in whatever condition it was when they were planted… if it was wet grow them wet, so we water ours until harvest. Do you water at all? I know you said you don’t irrigate them.

    Enjoyed your post!

  5.  says

    Holy cow, that’s a lot of potatoes. I need to find the room for those next year.
    Completely jealous of your ripe tomatoes. I have a couple cherry ones that are JUST starting to show some color. Finally.

  6.  Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Heather- The white, gooey ones were all well below the soil, and usually were big ones, meaning they’d been there awhile. I’ve never heard the advice your dad gave you- interesting!

    I don’t usually provide much extra water- we have a lot of rain usually while they growing and then it dries when we are supposed to be harvesting. If it’s particularly hot, I’ll give them a bit extra.

    But then there’s Diana’s comment about dry and hot with occasional rain…hmmm, it’s sounding like some fungus, but I couldn’t find anything when I tried googling it.

    Wouldn’t you know- another mystery! :-)

  7.  says

    Well I think it’s a GREAT potato harvest! I may try them again next year using your method. I’ve never had much luck with them previously.

  8.  Diana says

    My potato harvest was very disappointing this year — I had a lot of the white gooey yuck thing, and my potatoes were pretty small. We have had excessive heat all summer, with periods of no rain and then gullywashers that bring us up to “normal” rainfall for the summer. If this white gooey rot thing is widespread perhaps there will be an article about it somewhere. I hope it is just wet soil related, and not some fungus or virus that will persist in the soil (potato famine anyone?). Your harvest looked pretty good, however.

  9.  says

    Thanks Jami for crediting me for the chocolate cherry tomatoes. I still stand behind them, but yes, my plants were monsters as well last year. I pruned my choc. cherries this year like crazy and they have yet to ripen and produce, but they are still manageable. Wait until you try them – they are the best cherry tomaotoes on the market :)

  10.  says

    Looks like our last years Potato harvest. We also had the same toss away issues as you did. It was our first year potato growing so we were just happy to have so many. Good show.

  11.  Lexa says

    Terrific potato harvest Jami. Now we all know what’s going to be on the menu at your house for the next few months!

  12.  SchneiderPeeps says

    This was our first year to grow potatoes, so we’re still learning about them. I’ve been hesitant to plant many because we live in s. texas and there is no cellar or basement to store them. The ones we harvested were planted on a whim from a bag we bought at the grocery store that began growing in my kitchen. After harvesting they only stayed fresh for about a month. So I’m trying to figure out how to store them so that they will last. Of course it could have been the potatoes we started with.

  13.  Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    SchneiderPeeps & Extraordinary:

    See my comment above (number 3) for the link to my page about storing potatoes in a food cooler!

    And contrary to popular belief, I’ve read that they can be stored in the fridge (around 40 degrees) for a period of time- just bring them to room temp. before using them to allow the sugars to decrease again.

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