One Big Tater

From year to year we have “volunteer” plants come up. They surprise us both with their locale (maybe an errant seed dropped by a bird) and species that it appears has wintered over.

This year, among the volunteer crop, was this particular Superior potato plant. The potatoes in the basket would be a somewhat “normal” yield for a plant but what makes this extraordinary is the fact that the whopper that Natalie is holding was also produced by the same plant!

Other volunteer seeds have produced sunflowers, tomatoes, various annual flowers, and a variety of squash/pumpkin/gourds. They’re always a treat to find in the garden because they’ll be slightly ahead in growth of what you’ve planted by seed that year.

When we first moved in, I had David rip up a large area at the back of the house for my flower beds. This year will mark the first year we did not have a volunteer tomato crop magically appearing there, in and amongst the flowers. He tended to think it could’ve been the site of an outhouse (sorry for those who can’t “stomach” the thought of  life before plumbing). The more I think about it, he’s probably right.

As far as the gigantic potato-bearing plant goes?  A chunk of potato was, inadvertently, left in the ground from last year and just sprouted. And, boy, did it sprout?!

Red Norlands

Red potatoes were ready to dig today!  David gently forked the ground until it coughed up this variety of early/new potato, the Red Norland, which we planted about 100 days ago (days to maturity are always listed on your seed packet so that you may plan accordingly).

It’s hard to explain the feeling of loosening the dirt and letting it fall through the fork only to reveal these red beauties left rolling around on the tines…it makes me pause every time. It’s a family favorite–so delicate and tender–and the skin gives way easily as you take bites.

Usually, we can keep the bushels through the winter in the basement. Last year, we didn’t run the furnace at all (which is in the basement) because we used both wood stoves. Aside from keeping the family cool–remember the record snowfalls in the northeast?–it kept the potatoes and squash perfectly.

David is great about planting an abundance of Red Norlands and we’re always excited to see that first bushel basket he’s pulled from the earth.