Saturday, April 16, 2011

Potato, Po-tah-to

Yesterday, I had the supreme pleasure of planting potatoes for the first time in my life.

When I was a kid, I remember harvesting potatoes. It was probably my favorite crop to pick from my grandpa's garden. He would hoist the plant out of the air with his pitchfork while I scrabbled through the dirt to find them... it was like a treasure hunt.

Susan, it seems, loves potatoes. She grows six different types, some of which are heirlooms, and almost all of which will be for the farm, not for sale.

The first order of business was preparing the field. We weeded four rows, and dug a trench in each row for the seed potatoes. (That's Brian below - he's one of the other interns.)

Then came the business of preparing the seed potatoes. We cut them into pieces, each of which needed at least two "nodes" on them. Nodes are what eventually turn into eyes.

Some of the potatoes had faces. I named mine.



We then sloshed the potatoes around in a mixture of mycorhizal fungi and humic acid - the humic acid acts as food for the fungi, which improves the quality of the soil with its presence by increasing the microbial life there. Appetizing, no?

For the actual planting, one person would lay down the potato pieces, skin side up, in the trough. The second person followed with the hoe, covering the seed potatoes and mounding a hill of dirt over them. (Below is Autumn, the third full-time intern on the farm. We are a merry little group.)

Final note: Normally, potatoes are planted in March. By planting later, Susan hopes to escape the worst of the potato bugs... another (less enjoyable) thing I remember from my childhood. We shall see.


  1. This is delightful! I remember planting potatoes with MY grandfather. He always planted potatoes on Good Friday. It's a good memory!

  2. Mako and I better get a move-on with planting! Did I spy blue potatoes in the seed foto? I hope so, because those are divine! Also, I've been devouring your blog - yes, devouring. Girls just want to have pun, I guess!

  3. It should be a requirement that all grandparents introduce their grandchildren to certain agricultural enterprises.

    Katie - the Caribe potatoes are actually purple-skinned with sweet white flesh, according to the package. (Is it just me, or do these descriptions sound like a weird brothel menu?)