Monday, March 28, 2011

Potato growing - a giant conundrum

In Mole Creek autumn’s here. Well and truly. And this morning Sweetheart Vivienne flies to Melbourne. So two days ago we harvested our potatoes. Mostly from two 5-metre long patches we’d put down in our orchard – sown between a thick layer of newspaper below and straw mulch on top. These potatoes were small. Disappointingly so. Our sharefarmer neighbour Sharon said that even after their above-ground stalks and leaves have died down, potatoes left in the ground continue to grow in size. I don’t know if she’s right. And this year I won’t know – because our entire crop’s in the box (pictured). The same day Sweetheart Vivienne and I also harvested the last of the potatoes we’d grown in a stack of car tyres – in soil enriched by compost. Included were, as you can see in the photograph of the combined orchard/tyres crop, two giants. They’re the biggest potatoes we’ve ever grown. How did we do it? Beats me. Both were near the tyres’ rubber. Maybe it was warmer there. Wetter, too. Or perhaps it was the variety of potato. Or even, given Sharon’s theory, leftovers from last season. Or all of the above. Who knows? Like many things in my life, food growing’s something I’d like to improve incrementally and iteratively season-by-season. But so many variables are involved that it’s impossible to know what works – and what doesn’t. Anyway it’s fun. As it can be. Because it’s not my livelihood. Ho hum.

1 comment:

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

Oh lovely spuds, we discovered that they are expensive here this year and many seniors can't afford them or carry the bags home so we are planning to buy spuds for the poorer ones who can't get out.
Cotton did poorly tpp, coffee had a bad year, hard times all around.