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Purple, French & Rose Potatoes

February is a great time for planting some potatoes into the ground. The most common potatoes are the red and white, but did you know that they come in many different colors, sizes and shapes? How about try something different this year?

The Purple Majesty potato would be a shining crown when added to anyone's garden. This potato is, like most potatoes, are from South America. Although this purple variety of potato has a delicate name, it is quite hardy and disease resistant.

They also have some health benefits like lowering blood pressure, high vitamin C, and it contains a special enzyme that may help prevent blood clots. Purple potatoes are definitely a power food.

Another fun variety is the French Fingerling. It is a smaller, tender potato that is a pretty rosy pink on the inside, but bright yellow in the center with reddish freckles. They are best picked really early. Don't space these potatoes out when planting.

By growing them close together, they will not grow quite as large, giving you smaller potatoes with bursts of taste with every bite. Did you know that French Fingerling potatoes have been planted this way for 8000 years.

There are so many different types of potatoes to try. Another variety is the Terra Rosa. Doesn't that just sound so nice. I can picture myself in a foreign country, wind blowing in my hair, looking at up down stars, his hair blowing in the... ok, (blush, blush) let's get back to planting potatoes. The Terra Rose is scarlet on the outside and pink in the middle.

While Kennebec, Pontiac and Yukon Gold hold their taste as they grow bigger, the colored potatoes should be picked smaller, not much past four inches.

How about try some color this year? The Purple Majesty, the French Fingerling and the Terra Rosa all do well in small containers. Keep in mind they do need full sun.

Lay out your freshly bought potatoes. Make sure you buy local. Let the “eyes” begin to peek out. Don't be concerned if they begin to wink at you because these potatoes have a lot of personality.

Next, place about four inches of dirt in your container. Lay your “eyed” potatoes in. Then cover with about another four inches of dirt. As your potatoes start growing up, keep adding dirt. Don't cover more than four inches of the stem at a time.

Your potatoes will be ready to harvest when the tops start dying out. This will happen when the weather warms. Upon this happening, just pour out your container, and enjoy.

Try some container gardening this year. It's a whole lot easier on the back and much more easy to maintain. You use less water and you can bring your precious plants nearer to the house. This way hopefully the rabbits and deer can be shooed off. Just make sure your crops are getting plenty of sun.

Six hours a day minimal, of full sun.

Gardening can be so much fun and it can become new again to you by planting different varieties of produce. What are you going to try? As always Get Growing South Carolina, and buy local.

As most of you know, Consumer's Feed and Seed in Lexington has shut their doors. They were in business for over 65 years. They walked away with generations of growing knowledge. So go out and buy from your local garden shops, and your local feed and seed shops. Not only will you get fresher seed, your will get knowledge and maybe even take a little trip back in time. Thank you.

Come out and visit Sal's Ol' Timey Feed & Seed. We are open Tuesday 9-6, Friday 9-6 and Saturday 9-1.

Customers have asked about our hours, but after owning Sal's for so many years and seeing the big box stores coming in and take customers, the decision was made. I work other jobs to support my dream of Getting South Carolina Growing.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes at the Feed and Seed store. We have of course a mortgage, insurance on the building as well as a high premium liability policy, accounting fees are high, the heating and air usually runs 400.00 a month.

We have to pay for a seed licence, a chick license, a nursery license, a fertilizer licence, a feed license, a retail licence, hazard. materials licence. Property taxes, personal property taxes (which is like the register, tables, computers, etc.) All of this comes to 2600.00 a month- and that is before anyone gets paid.

Margins are low on feed and cash flow is not profit. Even though you can plant all year, most people come in from March to April. That means that those few months income, must last the year.

Building maintenance and more come into play. We where once open all week. We did this for many years. Open Monday-Saturday, even opening at 5 am. The low margins on feed, and hay are not enough to warrant being open the whole week. We where loosing money being open all week.

It's really easy to judge and point fingers, but we are just a store trying to survive. We want to provide you with the knowledge and skills to grow your own food. Keep this in mind when you walk in with a chicken question. If you don't need anything, how about buy a jar of jam? Or a card from a local vendor?

We love questions, but we have to be able to pay the bills. Yes Walmart might have a buy one get one sell, but what is our knowledge worth? Is it really worth the 2.00 you saved on that plant?

I love my customers. I had surgery in October and I had to hire more people on a budget that was already in the red.

So come out, ask questions, buy jam. Bypass the tomato plants at Walmart or Lowes and take a trip to my store where you can get your plants from local farmers, who are also struggling. We can give you tips on the best varieties to plant and more.

Let's Get Growing and Let's Keep It Local.

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