I thought I blew it with the potatoes. Everyone warned not to use supermarket ones as seed, and I ignored them. When the plants suddenly started dying a month ago after an unseasonal 3 days of cool, rainy weather, I figured I’d learned my lesson.
Yesterday, I thought I’d better deal with the mess. I raked aside the mounded straw, too deep and wet with hot compost action on the bottom, and the spading fork touched something soft. I bent down and dug with my hands; it was a large, mushy, foul-smelling potato. I made plans to drag all the straw away to the burn pile so as not to spread the fungal blight I was sure had taken our tubers.
Then I spied a tiny but healthy-looking spud peeking up at me. No more than 1/2″ long, but perfectly shaped. I put it in my pocket as a memento to show Teri later, and kept digging.
When I had two one-gallon buckets almost full, I decided to leave the rest there, so Teri could enjoy uncovering a few. It was so unexpected; I’d been sad about the sudden departure of those formerly vigorous plants.
It wasn’t by far our most homegrown meal, but the potatoes were a big deal…they can be a really significant part of our diet for fairly little work, and like almost everything we’ve grown here they tasted incomparably better than those things at the supermarket.
The more we eat this way, and the more I learn about food production, the more it seems that most other human foolishness pales in comparison to the way we’ve transformed our food into poisonous, flavorless garbage that leaves a wasteland behind after harvest.
My food’s made of goat poop and old straw (well composted, of course) and it’s way better than anything I paid $30 a plate for in NYC.