Wed

02

May

2012

Life on Distant Hill Blog ... Potatoes and Dandelions

Plant Potatoes When Dandelions Bloom

Plant potatoes when the dandelions bloom.
Plant potatoes when the dandelions bloom.

 

A gardening rule of thumb in New England is to plant your potatoes when the dandelions bloom. We usually plant four varieties of organic potatoes every year at Distant Hill Gardens Rio Grande Russet, Red Sangre, Yukon Gold, and my favorite French Fingerling.

 

 

The French Fingerling is by far the most prolific variety in our garden. We have harvested as many as thirty pounds from a single pound planted. The yield for our other three varieties is about ten pounds per pound planted. Another common name for the French Fingerling is "Nosebag". Legend has it that the name "Nosebag" resulted from the way in which the tubers were smuggled into the U.S. from France- in the nosebag, or feed sack, of a horse.

 

Which Variety of Potato to Use in Cooking?

Here is a handy list excerpted from 'The Cook's Thesaurus' showing which varieties work best for the many different cooking methods possible:

 

Best for baking:   russet potato

Best for potato salads: Yellow Finn potato, new potato, red-skinned potato, white round potato, and purple potato 

Best for mashing:   russet potato, Yukon gold potato, Caribe potato, and purple potato 

Best for soups and chowders:   Yukon gold potato, Yellow Finn potato, red-skinned potato, white round potato, and purple potato 

Best for pan-frying:  red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes, new potatoes, and fingerling potatoes

Best for French fries:   russet potato, purple potato, Bintje potato

Best for purees:  fingerling potatoes

Best for roasting:   new potatoes, Bintje potatoes (and IMO fingerlings)

Best for steaming:  new potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes

Best for potato pancakes:   russet potato, Yukon Gold potato

 

Interesting Facts About the Dandelion

  •  The word Dandelion comes from the French name for the plant dents de lion. This means teeth of the lion and refers to the jagged edges of the leaf of the plant.
  • The other French name for this plant is pis-en-lit, in English this means wet the bed. Dandelions deserve this name because their greens, when eaten, remove water from the body. So eating the greens could cause someone to well… you can guess the rest. Not recommend for a bedtime snack.
  • The dandelion first came from Asia but it now calls the entire planet home!
  • Each year fifty-five tones of coffee substitutes made from roasted Dandelion roots are sold in England, Australia and Canada.
  • The Dandelion provides an important food source to bees. The pollen from this plant helps bees out in the spring because it flowers early and the flowers continue through to the fall providing constant food. In fact no less then 93 different kinds of insects use Dandelion pollen as food.
  • The Dandelion seeds are important food to many small birds.

 

The above facts thanks to NatureWatch