I’ve heard people say how much fun it is to harvest potatoes. I’m not sure who, exactly, but somewhere at some point I must have because it is in my head. Regardless, the idea of squatting down digging up dirty food just didn’t seem all that exciting. Then I dug a few carrots last summer, well, precarrots anyway and I started to get it. Carrots have nothing on potatoes, let me just tell you.
First of all, I’m not even sure if it is supposed to be potato harvesting season yet. Unlike vegetables that shout their ripeness from amidst their green foliage, potatoes just kind of linger underground waiting to be discovered whenever you’re ready. Well, I wasn’t ready yet but in one of my potato areas all of the greens started falling over and turning yellow. Even with my limited experience as a gardener, I do not take that as a good sign. Healthy things don’t lie in the dirt and turn yellow. As a matter of fact, I believe that is a universal sign of sick. I’m pretty sure that is what I looked like after my sister took me out for my 21st birthday many moons ago. (By the way, I begged her to leave me in said dirt and she wouldn’t. That’s love, I tell you.)
Anyway, I decided to investigate. I started digging around underneath the fallen stalks and voilà all of a sudden I was holding a perfect little red potato. Contrasted with the darkness of the dirt, it shone as much as any tomato or red pepper might. It was downright gorgeous. So, I dug for more. I would wiggle my hand under a clump of dirt and kind of shake it as I lifted it up and I would be holding a handful of potatoes. Just like that, out of the ground and everything. My kids were digging with me and said it was like magic. I couldn’t have agreed more.
Unfortunately, under some of the stalks was the initial potato the plant grew from and it was all rotted and covered with bugs. My hunch is that was the cause of the sick look. I did not use seed potatoes even though all of the books recommended them. I didn’t get why it was necessary. It would appear I now have the answer.
Not only were there gross bug covered rotting potatoes, but my harvest seemed to be cut a little short too. A lot of the potatoes I was pulling up were the size of grapes. Also, the plants had lots more tiny potato buds starting on their roots. I assume they would have grown a lot more potatoes if they were not surrounded by ick, but they were, so they just laid down and gave up in disgust. Still, I have some potatoes. And they aren’t covered in any kind of ick. They are beautiful.
As for the mint, that is actually another story. Early this spring, before the hubs built my raised beds, I was planting things in the existing overgrown, neglected beds just so I could put seeds in the ground somewhere. One of said beds had a mint problem. I don’t know if there is some gardening proverb about mint but there should be. Really I think mint has adopted its own motto: Veni, vidi, vici. The stuff is ridiculous. I completely understand why someone long ago decided to boil it.
The summary of my mint diatribe is this: I pulled up what I was hoping to be all of the mint roots from that garden (Ha!) and I took them, the leaves covering everything, and a mostly rotten tree stump and threw it all in a pile in the woods hoping nature would reclaim it. Well, nature just left it there in a clump, presumably sick of mint herself. So I figured I'd better spread it out a little. What do you think I found? That’s right, the mint managed to plant itself right there under the pile in the woods. Unbelievable. Tenacity, thy name is mint.
Life lesson learned: Once you start digging, you never know what you are going to find.
I like to throw things.