Tuesday, November 29, 2016

(Very Late) Potato Sowing

On Sunday, after the first frosts had come, after the potato leaves withered in the biting cold, after the stalks surrendered and fell on the dry soil, my mom and I walked up to the vegetable garden to excavate the potato beds.

Earlier in the year, I had ordered seed potatoes from Seed Savers. Apparently I had ordered too many, for no matter how closely I laid the tubers in the ground, I still could not fit half of the total order into two 8'x4' beds. In an attempt to preserve the remaining tubers, I placed them in the refrigerator. There they sat for months until I realized that it was probably too late to make a second sowing. In my defense, the summer was so ridiculously hot and dry that I thought it would be a waste to plant the remaining seed potatoes. Of course, keeping them in the refrigerator simply produced the same effect with the opposite approach.

In mid-September, it seemed at least worth a try to grow more potatoes with what remained. I really had nothing to lose, so I planted the rest and waited. Less robust plants grew, and then they got hit by an unexpected frost. I assumed the effort had been wasted.

This weekend, my mom, armed with my border fork, was too curious and had to investigate. So she sunk the tines deep into the soil and brought up a few wonderful fingerling potatoes. I sat on the gravel path and rescued the little gems from the soil. Again and again she sank the teeth of the border fork into the earth and delivered more unexpected potatoes. She began to chuckle every time I said, "Oooh!" and grabbed at the harvest.

The potatoes were mostly small, but they fed us for two nights. Maybe I waited too long for the second sowing. Maybe I'll get them in a little sooner next year. But sinking my teeth into those last creamy, tasty bites of the summer garden was a pleasure I may remember until the next batch of tubers finds a spot in the garden on the hill.

The photo isn't great, but the potatoes were

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