Bringing In The Potato Harvest
Two things happened today to make me drop my Avid tutorial and write this post. First of all, I decided to harvest my potato crop during lunch. Secondly, when I sat back down at my computer, a New York Times article popped up with a potato gratin recipe, fresh from the pen of Julia Moskin who has been staying in Julia Child’s house in France, dredging up tasty treats from her recipe books.
I don’t usually grow vegetables, besides the odd tomato vine and tubs of herbs. I need all my pots for flowers!
I made an exception this year when Amber, my visiting niece, tut-tutted over all the sprouting spuds in my vegetable rack and carefully put them aside in a bucket so I could plant them. I found them there after she’d gone and, missing her smiling face, felt shamed into planting out four of them, a mixture of whites and reds.
I used one of those 14 inch black pots that nurseries use for their bigger plants, and half filled it with good potting soil, in which I buried my grateful little sprouting spuds, along with a sprinkling of plant food, organic of course! Then I left them to it for the summer, filling the rest of the pot with soil as the plants grew. In the middle of summer, I had to water them every couple of days because they were the first plants to start wilting, along with the tomatoes.
I waited for them to flower but they never did, and then they slowly started dying off, so I thought they’d rotted. But when I went to visit a real vegetable grower on a nearby farm he dug up some spuds for me and told me it was the right time of year for my potato harvest.
Digging for Treasure
Digging for potatoes is like hunting for treasure. Kids just love it and I must admit to a certain thrill as I reached down into the pot and curled my fingers around solid nuggets of varying sizes. I brought up sixteen in all and am convinced there are still a couple lurking!
From Garden Pot To Cooking Pot
So tonight, after my first potato harvest, it’s potato gratin, layered with onions, tomatoes and a paste of garlic, anchovies and basil, thanks to the Julias. I must say, there’s something extremely satisfying about cooking a dish using ingredients harvested from your own garden, including the potatoes, the tomatoes and the basil (alas, gophers made off with my garlic). I shall rename the dish “Amber’s Spuds” for the woman who helped me discover that it can be easy if you try.
This book, The Shoestring Gardener, shows you how to grow a vegetable garden from collected seeds and cuttings, along with other money saving tips.
Let me know if you’ve ever brought in a surprising potato harvest in the comments below, or share with friends who might like the article. In the meantime, happy chomping!
By the way, here is a link to a list of gopher resistant plants: http://www.groundcoversandgardening.com/gopher resistant plants.
If you want to buy plants that deer probably won’t eat, look here.