Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Taters

My life in appalachia - Taters
The last week or so has found Pap and Granny digging potatoes. Seems like only yesterday we planted those potatoes-remember Granny makes us plant them every year even though usually they don’t do very well? Pap and I say “we’re not planting taters next summer” but we do cause Granny makes us.

But this year we grew a good crop of potatoes! See how big some of them are? I believe they did better because we planted them in a different part of the garden. We planted them in the portion farthest away from the road-not because we thought they’d do better-but because we wanted those puny producing potato plants out of our way. I guess they showed us something uh?

How did yours do? How do you store yours?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.




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  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    We had a good crop of potatoes, this year. I have canned a lot of them put some in the freezer. but what I have left over is a good many, I have them in a long wooden box with lime on them, I will bring them in or put them in the tractor shed before realy cold weather. Blessings Kay

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Good for Granny! – and the whole family, those spuds look like some good eating!
    @ Julia Dickinson; the best way I know to keep the rodents out of the house is to have a cat, especially a female one. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Julia Dickinson
    September 8, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Has anyone got a natural cure for keeping mice out of the garage, house and cars as it is going to be winter soon. I have a corn crib across the road at a farm and they will be there multiplying and then wanting to come over to my place to stay warm. I tried mothballs last year and no one could stand to come in my house as the smell was so strong, it works, but I couldn’t breath good in here.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I don’t plant them because I don’t have a place to store them. Someday I hope to have a cellar and then I’ll try planting them.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Ours were stored in burlap chicken feed sacks below the cellar stairs. Mid-winter, our mom would take us all down there, dump them all out on the floor, and we’d have to pull all the growing “eyes” off them so they’d be ok to eat through the winter and wouldn’t go green before spring, cause if they go green, they’ve begun producing chlorophyll so they’ll sprout, but that chlorophyll contains solanine which is toxic to humans.
    Our gran also taught us how to “steal” potatoes from the plant before the full harvest. Just look for the place beside the plant where the earth is cracked and slightly mounded. That means there’s a potato there which you can carefully dig up individually with your hands for dinner.
    And you can get a larger harvest from the crop if you continue to mound up dirt around the plant as its sprouts breach the soil – urging it to continue to reach beyond the dirt for the sun. Wherever there was a node on the stem as it grew, vines will form beneath the ground grossing you even more potatoes.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    September 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Mitchell says he remembers the year his daddy plowed under the baccer stalks in the tater patch. His mama (she ran the farm) was so furious-the potato crop they depended on would not be able to grow in those conditions & her family would be hungry! Well, the family planted the potatoes anyway & they waited & waited. Mitchell says they were the best potatoes they ever had.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Lots of plants started with lovely leaves.Unfortunately they didn’t have deep enough loose soil so the crop was not great. The first harvest I stored in the fridge crisper box-they went bad in four weeks. Just got the last six potatoes which are new potato size. They will be used within the week.

  • Reply
    Tim Mclemore
    September 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    When I was a young man still at home, Dad built a 2×4 frame and covered it with 1/4 in, wire mesh and used concrete blocks to keep it off the ground and placed it under the high end of the house, there was an access door to keep the varmints out, we had taters all winter long. Can’t beat home grown.

  • Reply
    Rosann Kent
    September 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Yes, I remember potato soup! My mother always made that when we didn’t feel sometimes we pretended to be sick to get it:)

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    tipper im so glad that the taters did well for you all.. i know you work hard in the garden.. and its nice to see that it blessed you with a bountiful crop.. i think potatoes are my favorite vegetable. love them any way they can be cooked.. and like one other reader quoted.. even raw.. actually my brother told me that the medicine lady said to eat a very small raw potato slowly.. chewing each bite well .. and by the time you were finished eating it.. your heartburn would be gone..(forgot to say that i suffer from heartburn bad..and needed a remedy)
    its a rainy cool day here.. guess fall is peeping around the corner..
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    We planted our potatoes last March and dug in July. We got so many that we didn’t plant a fall crop, but the hot summer has done a lot of them in! (They are stored under the porch in wood slat boxes).No doubt I’ll be buying them by winter:(

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I don’t have the space to grow potatoes but sure wish I did. Nothing like having your own. We used to grow them on the farm when my children were you and we kept them in a horse stall in the barn covered with hay. It was so nice to just go get a pan full whenever you needed them. Yours look really nice. I love coming over here and listening to your music.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Potatoes did fair this year, and in previous year big and water logged and did not keep well. I tried growing my own sweet potato slips this year which I shared with a neighbor. I am anxious to see how they do since it has been so dry. My Dad used to grow beautiful potatoes on the side of a hill in loose rather light colored soil. My best “taters” were all the volunteers I refused to cut down.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Gave up on growing them because we couldn’t control the bugs. When we did plant them, we stored them in my husband’s shop (this is another story–it was once part of a ship or barge of some kind & weighs about a million lbs. It was originally fitted up like a small apartment and we stored the taters covered up in the bathtub. My husband operates heavy equipment and that’s how he was able to get it hauled in here.)

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    September 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    When I plant them, I till the surrounding ground, heap it up in parallel rows, then plant them. Makes in much easier to dig out new and old potatoes.
    I say “when I plant them”, because the local rats or voles tend to chew holes in them and beets. The only thing they like better than the vegetables is the rat poison I put out for them.

  • Reply
    Carol Isler
    September 7, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Nice spuds.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Very nice tater, Tipper!
    We didn’t grow Irish potatoes this year, but Hubby has been harvesting a pretty nice crop of sweet potatoes.
    He’s getting ready for the fall turnips to go in the ground.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 11:10 am

    It looks like your potato crop rewarded you with the results. I bet they taste great too!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Our potato crop has done very well this year, too. Tons of big fat taters just waiting to be shredded, cubed and baked.
    My cuc’s that you gave me have not done as well I’m sorry to say. They are orange! I think they either cross polinated with our pumpkins or yellow squash. As they began to produce, I waited, hoping that maybe it was some kind of fluke, that they would shape up to be what was planted, but no-go. They all have an orange hue. Inside is normal and they taste good so I guess that’s all that matters. Only three of each came up and production on the good day cucs is much better than the bad so all in all, a very interesting project that was. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your experiment.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Those look great! I haven’t dug
    mine yet, but grabbed a half row
    while they still had blooms. Bad
    idea! Couldn’t find many. Soon as
    the ground dries out I’ll be in
    the garden again.
    By the way, there’s hundreds of
    burrs on my chinquapin trees again
    this year and bring Pap with you,
    cause I think I have several seed
    plants coming up for you if you
    want them…Ken

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    September 7, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Our potatoes did good this year, too. the only place we have to store them is in the garage, which is not heated in the winter. We keep them in the ground as long as we can and dig them out as we need them.

  • Reply
    grandpa Ken
    September 7, 2011 at 10:25 am

    my taters looked like large marbles. I had problems with voles eating the plants up before they produced anything bigger. Do you have a reader who has a way to get rid of these things? A vole looks like a very large mouse with a short tail. I shot 5 with my 22 but then they got smart and would not show when I could see them.
    Have you ever heard anyone talk about box turtles eating meat. When I shot the voles I saw a box turtle eat one that I killed. I thought they only ate plants but this one came out of the woods and went to a dead vole and ate half of it and went back in the woods. If I had not been watch it happen I would not have believed it.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    September 7, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Tipper, My potatoes did pretty well this year, but mine are never as good as those my inlaws grow in Highlands. I read something last week that said the higher the elevation is the better the potatoes are. Have you ever heard that? My grandmother used to love Green Mountain potatoes, but these are so hard to find. I usually can couple of runs of green beans and potatoes together because 1 quart is just enough for me for a meal or two, and it includes the potatoes and beans already cooked.

  • Reply
    B f
    September 7, 2011 at 10:02 am

    how well do we remember the taters and how much one could do with them
    do any of you remember tater soup?boy was it good on a cold day or any day for that matter , now times were very lean ya know? and now that we can do better we go back to those days and make the same things we ate then, now one person alone cant use much but it is still good
    wish we could just go back to one day with the ones gone before . how we would cherish their memory and the things we came thru by the help of the Good Lord
    have a great day

  • Reply
    John Stonecypher
    September 7, 2011 at 9:55 am

    tater with a headake I put my tater under the house. about a month later I went under the house to get some taters. as I putting in a bag I look and I though I saw snake. I rased up I hit head on 2x 8 I went got my gun I aim I saw it was strout. It was four foot long.

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    September 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Tipper it sounds to me like Miss Cindy may have an ulterior motive…watch her!
    My potatoes didn’t do well at all. Luckily, my brother’s did-and I’ve already been eating on his. Since the two of you seem to be doing so well with them, maybe I, and Miss Cindy, won’t have to plant potatoes anymore!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    September 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

    My grandma had a root cellar dug under her house where she stored all of her garden vegetables.
    I love potatoes anyway that you can fix them, but my favorite is homemade french fries. I always dreaded when grandma would say “If you want french fries, you need to go under the house to the cellar and get some taters.” ugh. There was a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling in the cellar that didn’t really provide much light. There were SPIDERS in the cellar which I lived in fear of.
    To get to the potato bin, I had to walk across a narrow plank that was over the apple bin, past some shelves that held canned goods, and finally I would arrive at the potato bin. First, I had to peel back an old quilt, then lift a wooden lid that covered the potatoes. Then, lean into the bin to get to those tasty potatoes.
    Oh yeah, the french fries were WELL worth the adventure to the cellar!

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    September 7, 2011 at 9:15 am

    We haven’t dug all our taters yet, but what we have are big and oh so nice. I always move my ‘tater patch’ around in the garden … well, nothing is in the same place as last year … but I store them in a cool, dark place in my basement. That keeps them happy for a while, but not for as long as I’d like.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 8:59 am

    daddy always planted our potatoes on top of a flat top mountain in Ky. we had to climb a path to get up there that was so steep, our noses were in the clay as we walked. when we dug them it was hard getting them down, but we had taters all year.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Looks like “you did good” raising tators this year. Ours? well we made enough for the two of us; lots of small ones. They didn’t have a chance because the ground got so dry.
    I’ve always heard tators do good when planted in “new” ground so maybe that’s why yours did so well.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 8:50 am

    I love growing taters! Like going on a treasure hunt.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    September 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Those are pretty taters Tipper. Ours never made much. We planted them on the right signs and everything but I believe it’s because the vines died earl on because of the hot weather. We got a few though, enough to do for awhile.. Take care, Susie

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 7, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Purty taters, Tipper. I have loved potatoes, any way you want to cook them is ok with me I’ll even eat them raw.
    keep them in a cool dark place to keep them from sprouting.
    And eat them as fast as you can!

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    September 7, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Like you we also had a great potato crop. I have dehydrated some of mine both shredded and sliced and also canned some in jars for soups and such. The remainder we will store in dry straw in a shed.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 7, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Those are right purty taters! Maybe you have found their secret growing place..It took us a while in our garden to find it!
    We didn’t plant as many this year but ours did fairly well…Since we don’t have a root celler we make do and store ours in the deepest far corner of the basement…We let them dry for a day or two..Then he spreads them out on broken down cardboard boxes with some lime…Works for us… Ours are gone in no time since we usually give the kids some…and make too much tater salad…ha
    Thanks Tipper

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