so while the post on the urban ag panel at dearborn certainly generated plenty of traffic i’m back to the more mundane post of my basic life. in this case the most recent crop to pokes its little head above the soil surface – the potato. i’ve got a back log of lots of photos and i’m trying to get some posted before i get bored of them and don’t bother, so expect some short photo heavy posts over the next few weeks – but i do have a rant up my sleeve that’s just waiting to come out.
four weeks ago we started getting our spuds in the ground, first cutting them up into pieces with a couple nice eyes, then allowing them to heal over for a couple of days, and placing them in the ground – eyes up so they can see which direction to grow in. this is obviously not my hand cutting the potatoes as the fingers look much too well cared for.
like any expectant parent i find myself worrying that they won’t come up. potatoes were one of the first crops i planted when i apprenticed at a csa, and when they were attacked by corn seed maggot i was devastated. we ended up digging them up by hand, finding them covered in rot and maggots. we then covered them in a mixture of sulphur and diatomaceous earth, the sulphur to keep the potatoes from rotting and diatomaceous earth to abrade any maggot that tried to eat the potato. we ended up getting some of them to actually come up, and then came the colorado potato beetle. hours spend out in the field collecting the adults, hours spent out in the field spraying with bt to kill the youth. the potatoes were the first crop that i was allowed to cultivated with a tractor, hilling up soil around them as they grew. after this much coddling of the potatoes, after that much heart-break, to be able to dig up those potatoes that i helped grow was all the more rewarding. and i especially remember how much fun it was diggin them with my friends dave and lori (who i remember was wearing a dead kennedy’s t-shirt i was coveting) and their 3-year-old daughter julia. she took such delight in hunting for potatoes it was hard not to feel more joy in looking for them oneself. and it was a meal that included those very potatoes which i grew, that ma and i dinned on, our very first date 8 years ago. those potatoes were special.
so it should come as no surprise that potatoes hold a deep place in my heart. and it should come as no surprise that i would worry they might not do well. so this last week when i started seeing this sight popping up it was a delight.
seems as though no corn seed maggot got to them, and i’ve not seen a colorado potato beetle in detroit yet. i’m not saying we are in the clear, but i am saying i’m feeling good, and this is the first major crop of potatoes i’ve grown in years, already 500 row feet planted and another couple hundred this week.