A harvest…..of sorts.

Well, with two of the potato plants pretty much dead above ground, I decided to do some digging, make a first harvest, see if all the effort and time was worth it.

Maybe not.

The weather here is, as in many other parts of America, hot. I’m not talking about warm, or even to the point of being noticed, I’m talking miserable. Not just the heat but humidity, the type of humidity that makes it a chore just to breath, let alone do something. Like an idiot, I went to the shed and got the turning fork out, in the middle of the afternoon no less, and did some digging. The ground around the first plant was an interesting study: dry right where the ground had been left uncovered but moist where the straw mulch was in place. This is several days after the last rain, mind you, so that part of the mulch’s mission was well served. Pull back the straw a ways, to give some distance to make sure I don’t accidentally hit a spud with a fork tyne, shove down, lean on the handle to break the ground, and….nothing. Move to another spot, shove the fork in again, and nothing….no, wait! I see a small spot of red, and as these had been red potatoes, my mind thinks jackpot.

My mind is a very optimistic thing at times, and this turned out to be one of those times.

What I found, once I picked up the clod of dirt and broke it further apart was, well, a micro-spud. I use that term aptly, as this was a potato the size of a smallish marble. Disappointed but not-yet daunted, I dug in again. What I found was a whole lot of nothing, at least at that particular plant. So I moved to the next plant. These two, by the way, were some of the last plants to come up, so my mind began to wonder if maybe I was in for a disappointment. This time, my mind was at least getting close. After a through dig around the second plant, I was rewarded with a large number of potatoes….all of them tiny in size. None of the second batch was even as big as a golf ball, and while I managed to find about ten potatoes, I’d guess that the total weight of them might tip the scale at, oh, enough to half feed a hungry person.

I haven’t given up hope just yet. There is still the rest of the patch, and it’s not only been up longer, it’s still growing, well, for the most part. So, for now at least, the results of the experiment are not all that promising. On the other hand, I may not grow enough to do more than give me one good meal’s worth of spuds, but at least I know now that it can be done. All I really need is to get the sets in the ground earlier….and keep the Japanese beetles away….and the weeds…..and keep them growing longer…..and…….

As science experiments go, it’s been cheap and easy, so I shouldn’t complain. I was, though, hoping to feast on my own potatoes this fall. Guess that’s one goal I’ll have to put on hold for now.


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