Thursday, 2 June 2011


I may be about to poison myself.

Last year I planted some potatoes, which I didn't really pay attention to but still got a small crop from.

The final crop

It turns out that if you leave a potato in the ground at the season's end, it'll bide its time over winter and then in spring come to life, sending its shoots merrily upwards through the soil past unsuspecting worms and fresh into the crisp March air. Whether you gave it permission to or not.

I clearly allowed a few to slip through the fork last summer and was blessed with extra potatoes this year.
I'd earmarked their sunny but sheltered spot for some dwarf beans, but instead let them get on with it and at the weekend they'd reached a decent but not spectacular height:

However, I came across the advice that one should certainly not be encouraging such rogue behaviour and that these tearaways should be dug up to prevent the harbour of blight, dare they infect the purer innocent new potatoes with their disease

Now this seems a tad harsh. It wasn't the potato's fault, it was mine for abandoning them. Left on their own they looked after themselves, got their own food and water and created a meaningful life. Who am I to deny them the ultimate honour of arriving on my plate adorned most likely with butter.

With a need to create some planting space, I reluctantly gave in and dug up these rascals. I tentatively placed the garden fork in the ground and lifted them from their home. Normally this is such a satisfying task. Something about picking your spot, grabbing hold of your handle and pushing off your toes to un-earth golden nuggets. This time, however, I was a touch more reserved in the process, and the harvest showed they have been cut short before their time.

I gathered them in to look a bit more respectable and realised I just couldn't let them go. They'd earned their future.

One last photo shoot

I took them in gave them a scrubbing and placed them in the fridge. I feel totally naive in wondering if potatoes of such a background are safe to eat. My guess is that they are, but I wait to be warned before I try...


Nome said...

They'll be fine! :) I gotta say though, you keep them in the fridge? Doesn't that make them go sweet and funny?

Hanzy said...

they'll be fine, I have several renegade potatoes with no sign of blight yet!

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.