Monday, July 11, 2011

You Say Tomato, I Say Potato

Time for a little update from the Pot Garden!

My pickle cucumbers are going berserk.

So far I've been able to can three jars of pickles/pickle chips.

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Dill pickles with my own homegrown dill too! They're soooo much better than last year's pickles. Crunchy!

Next up, my experimental plant of the year--okra.

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The pods are getting bigger! I'm very excited about these. If I get enough of them, I will pickle them too--along with either some garlic or jalapenos. Mmmmmm!!!

Finally, I give you a weird twist to my Great Urban Potato Experiment.

Longtime readers will remember that back when we first moved to Nueva Jersey, I took a grocery store Yukon Gold and stuck it in a pot and let it grow on the steps of Squirrel Gables.

That was back in 2007. Ever year since then I save a little baby potato or two from the previous year's harvest and I plant it the following spring.

Some years I get more potatoes than others, sometimes I don't. I always get at least enough for one dinner's side dish of potato-something (baked, homefries, etc.).

Saturday night I was outside watering my plants when Chunky said "Hey Mom, I didn't know you planted tomatoes!" and he pulled this out of my potato plant:

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But I knew there was NO WAY these were tomatoes...well maybe. I mean I did use compost in my mix, and sometimes you get hitchhiker seeds (like the time I got a pumpkin plant growing out of my peas...), but these didn't smell like tomatoes.

If you've grown tomatoes, you know what I'm talking about, it's that tomato oil smell from the stem. It's quite distinct.

If you're really into it, you too can smell like a tomato.

So I hopped online and through some googling and posting on Facebook (one of my old HS friends grew up on a potato farm)--I realized that these aren't tomatoes; they're true potato seeds.

What you do is harvest them, squeeze out their guts (which are allegedly slimy just like tomatoes*), wash the seeds, dry them, and plant them the next year.

How cool is this??!?! Maybe I'm easily amused but I'm am already pretty damn excited to grow potatoes from the great-great-great grandtater of my original Pot Potato.

Apparently, the appearance of true potato seeds is kind of rare. And there's a ton of other stuff out there on the internet about the chromosomal uniqueness of taters and their various breeds. Basically, the potatoes from these seeds, if I am understanding my quick internet research correctly, will be a completely unique strain of potatoes.

Perhaps I am easily amused, but this is just so damn cool! Ha ha!

ETA: These little "berries" although they look like tomatoes, they are highly poisonous!



*I also learned that potatoes and tomatoes are in the same family, and when you stop and look at them, they do look a lot alike!

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18 Comments:

Blogger Ellie said...

That potato thing is really cool! I've never heard of it... maybe you'll get a new variety that'll spontaneously mutate to give you blue potatoes or something ;)

7:36 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

That's so neat about the potato seeds! I've never seen that happen. And yes, potatoes and tomatoes are in the same family -- along with peppers, eggplants, and, of course, deadly nightshade. Which is why you shouldn't sample the fruit unless you know for sure which kind of plant it is. :) There are also certain types of tomatoes called "potato top" (like brandywine), which as seedlings are really hard to tell apart from potato plants, save that tomato-y smell.

-- Rachel aka robogock

7:39 PM  
Blogger janna said...

What an educational post! I didn't know any of this!

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what those seeds will bring forth also. Too bad it will take a year to learn. I sure hope you have your Father's name on one of those jars ofr chips!

Love, Mom

11:14 PM  
Blogger IrishGirlieKnits said...

Amazing from one potato?! Love it!

1:36 AM  
Blogger Crafty Christina said...

Wow, I didn't even know potatos did that. Very cool. Crazy how your random experiment has been so successful. These are lessons the boys will remember forever.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Mother Necessity said...

I guess you do learn something new every day - how cool!

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

That is really cool. Who knew!
Our garden this year is the pits. I'm getting blooms galore on everything but hardly any yield, very disappointing. I was hoping to be up to my eyeballs in squash and eggplant and heirloom tomatoes and cukes but not a one :-(
It's really easy to save okra seeds, leave a pod on the plant too long until it gets hard then just pull it off and let it dry out, it will eventually open at the seams, we've got an heirloom okra that's beautiful and tasty, it's burgundy! I've already saved some seeds for next year.
I love to have a vegetable garden.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Discoknits said...

That is extremely cool. I hope you'll document the seed extraction process for us :0)

8:54 AM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

wow, that's really cool! the internetz is really a wonderful place.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

Bez, you are so cool - I've never seen potato berries before.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

We must all be easily amused :). I think that's the bomb! So what are you going to name you're new strain next year?

4:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Those pickles look tasty! My husband and daughter love pickles, and go through jars of pickles like crazy.

I've never heard of the potato seeds either - I'd probably have thought it was a tomato too, eaten one, and gotten sick, ha, ha!

8:16 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Unique strain? You had better call them Bezzie's!!

9:51 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Wild! Just Wild! I like the Bezzie Berries :D

10:53 PM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I've never seen potato seeds. I'd have thought you were pulling my leg. They look just like tomatoes.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those potatoes seeds are so cool - and maybe not surprising that it happened to you..... actually thought of you this weekend, we went blueberry picking and I have a ton that I want to make jam with and can - but Ive never done it - thought "if Bezzie can do it I bet I can too!"

- starfish

6:40 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

you are a gardener extraordinaire!

8:22 PM  

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