Garden Diary - June 2014

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Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Planting Potatoes

Potatoes. Everyone eats potatoes. Boiled, baked, mashed, fried, scalloped. Potato pancakes. Potato chips. Potato salad. Vodka. Cultivated for millenia, potatoes were a gift from the New World. Originating in the Andes of South America there are many, many cultivars, nearly 4,000 wild and domesticated varieties of potatoes. And they're still popular in the home vegetable garden as well as at farmers markets.

You don't grow potatoes from seed. You grow them from potatoes.

The "eyes" are growing points where the vines emerge.

You don't need to plant the whole potato. It's sufficient
if there are just couple of strong eyes on each piece.

Equipment is helpful if there's a whole field to be planted.

Load up a couple of trays of the cut, sprouted potatoes. Notice
that there are four seats. Joy and Uncle Robby are right-handed

so they have the left-hand seats of each pair. Ready, set . . . .

and they're planting. Charlie slowly guides the tractor down a row.

A small plow opens a furrow. Drop in a chunk of potato and
the pair of tilted wheels neatly covers it. Keep going. It's a big field.

A young potato plant, sprouted up from underground into the light of day.
Pomme de terre, earth apple in French. A wonderful crop with culinary options.

UPDATE: 20 July 2014
My friend Michael has a lovely home vegetable garden that he just started this year - designed, fenced, built raised beds, lots of compost, and beautiful vegetables. The potato patch is just outside the fenced area. I stopped by today to say hello on my way home from the farmers market. "Want any potatoes?" he asked. Sure thing!

Just see, what a beautiful medley of potatoes - Yukon Gold, blue skin / blue flesh,and
red skin / yellow flesh. Delicious buried treasures that he just scrabbled up by hand.

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