America's favorite homegrown vegetable revealed
When it comes to growing veg at home, the potato trumps its more glamorous kitchen garden cousins
Potatoes are the most popular homegrown vegetable in America, with 14 states searching ‘how to grow’ this home-grown crop over and above any other vegetable including carrots, squash and bell peppers, according to new research.
Searches for how to grow potatoes came out top in states including Connecticut, Utah, Montana and Oklahoma, say experts at All About Gardening, who analyzed data to establish the vegetable that has highest search volume for ‘how to grow’ it in each American state in the past five years.
So just what is it about the humble potato that makes it America's favorite homegrown vegetable and such a popular choice for backyard veg plots?
Easy to grow
Potatoes are so hardy and easy to grow – you can even grow potatoes in containers on a balcony.
'Planting potatoes is hilariously easy,' says New York State home gardener Robert Rafferty, owner of pet supplies company Cat Savant.
'This year I've got four types of seedling potatoes purchased from a farm in Maine, but the first year I started I literally grabbed a couple potatoes that I had bought at the grocery store but had forgotten in the pantry.
'They sprouted so I didn't want to eat them anymore and thought "we'll see what happens". They took off and produced loads of potatoes throughout the season.'
More bang for your buck
'Growing potatoes gives you a great bang for your buck,' says Joelle Kurczodyna, gardening expert, nutritional therapy practitioner and founder of growing and cooking blog From Scratch Farmstead.
'Planting one pound of potatoes will on average yield eight pounds to harvest. Potatoes are more energy rich than most other garden vegetables. They will keep you satisfied longer.'
Potatoes are nutrient-dense, especially high in Vitamin C, potassium, and Vitamin B6. 'And they store very well,' adds Joelle.
'It is late spring and we are still eating the potatoes that we harvested last October. Potatoes are fun to grow too. Our young kids love the treasure hunt that digging up potatoes brings.'
Potatoes have been long-established as a staple agricultural crop in the US, so they’re familiar with generations of home gardeners.
'Among the principal and most significant sources of income and food for farmers are potatoes, due to their high nutritional content, their ability to adapt to marginal environments, and their relative ease of cultivation,' says Aaditya Bhatta, editor and founder of home-growing website Plantscraze.
'Profitability, paired with versatility and consumability, are the primary factors in their popularity in the US.'
Will you be adding this American backyard favorite to your kitchen garden this year?
Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.
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