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Upcycle your sprouting potatoes by growing potatoes.  Maybe this is completely obvious to many of you, but doing it last year really drove home this possibility for me.  It was all small-scale — buckets and barrels and nothing too big, but it would be possible on verges and in any space, containers, or ground you might have, at whatever scale is called for.

Last spring and summer, I had frequent access to organic sprouting potatoes that languished in sacks in the back of our local organic vegetable shop.  Nobody would buy them, as sprouts are slightly toxic and suggest that more than less of the potatoes are aging.  But they also suggest these tubers are asking to be put in the ground to reproduce.

So these sacks were free.  To be lugged home.  To sit and and get even more ready for some transformation.

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I spent time chopping up the potatoes, cutting off chunks that had developed root systems and leaving the flesh in the air for several days to callous such that it wouldn’t rot when put in soil.

And yes where possible I salvaged good potato from the interiors and chucked those bits in to this and that at dinnertime.  (I am always wary of green in potato.)

I got quite visually fascinated with all the sprouting/ rooting.IMG_9277

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Sorry I can’t find the pictures of the planting, but really it was nothing extraordinary.  We have a big tub, and there was a little old soil in it.  I threw in the calloused chunks of potatoes, root down, and covered with a combo of soil, compost and leaf mould.IMG_9287

As the potatoes grew leaves, I covered them with more soil, compost or leaf mould– whatever there was.  And I tried to keep this process up through the summer. I believe I began to do this in June, so not really very early.  When the leaves were way above the top of the bucket, and the brown stuff there as well, I just stopped.  I watered sometimes.

At the end of August I decided to dig up the potatoes.  I noted at the time that it felt like I’d reproduced the volume of wasted potato in new potatoes.  If I had payed any attention to soil fertility and timing and horticultural what-not, I’m sure I could have grown more.

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Bless this potato that had a potato heart.

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a beautiful form.

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And this is what we got at the end of it all. Really really delicious.

Lazy woman’s gardening.  Am already saving unwittingly sprouted potatoes for the same purpose.  Was fun to show children, could be done nearly anywhere, felt like such easy food-growing.  And a good bit of experiential education.

Plus I learned, potato flowers smell truly exquisite.

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(I just finished and posted this piece, then found this link which is maybe a lot clearer than mine. Ho hum.)

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