Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Digging In the Spud

Dear Reader Jasmine asked recently if I had heard about the potato and tomato blight in New England -- I had not -- and if we were being threatened by it here in northeastern Ohio.

We certainly have not had the rainy year that the Northeast has had. In fact, several times lately you've heard or read me wondering about when we might get rain (aside from CSA days, when it was starting to become a tradition). So no, we're not having problems with blight.

But her question did remind me that since other growers are starting to harvest potatoes, I might want to consider doing the same.

Of course, I had already checked on potatoes in the Southern Belle's garden and found that they seemed to be the right size for harvest. But when I dug up the Renaissance Man's garden this evening, I had a pleasant surprise.

Though the short row of potato plants did not have a significant yield in terms of numbers, likely because I simply couldn't mound them up very well, what I harvested tended toward fist-sized spuds with vibrant red or papery taupe-colored skins.

What fun! Despite my original intent to dig up only half the plants, I found I couldn't stop the treasure hunt. I filled a gallon bucket with my harvest, and when I returned home, I promptly shared a few with the kind neighbor who had shared some of his carrots with me last month.

I'll brush the dirt off them soon and store them properly, but I'm already excited about having my first-ever home-grown potatoes to eat. This year's experience has also given me ideas about how to grow things a little more effectively next year.

For now, though, I've started some fall crops in the space where the potatoes came up, and I'll hope to spread a little more of that rich soil around for next year.

And that's spud enough for a first time.

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