I won’t be having fries tonight; nor chips, nor crisps, nor papas fritas.
My potatoes failed. They’re too small to eat. The smallest ones were smaller than a grape.
I dug up the potatoes this afternoon after I noticed that the foliage on the plant was starting to die. According to my research, this is a sign that the potatoes are ready to harvest.
The garden is at the back of a rental property on the south coast of New South Wales, about 2 hours south of Sydney, Australia. The soil is generally fertile in a region famous for dairy farming and viticulture, although the garden had been stripped of much of its nutrients when I moved in, courtesy of the previous tenant’s neglect and a dry winter. The garden attracts quite a lot of sun, during very warm summer months and even during colder winter months in what is typically a temperate climate. The area is also famous for beaches and surfing, which is great after a day of hard yakka in the garden.
For some reason, the potatoes failed.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t use seed potatoes. I simply buried some potatoes that I’d bought from the supermarket.
I watered the potatoes regularly but not every day, because I know that too much water can cause potatoes to rot.
I know the soil is healthy because it is in the same garden bed as the silverbeet, which is growing so well that I have to give it away and eat silverbeet every day. I also know the soil is healthy because I saw big, fat worms wiggling out of my grasp when I dug for the potatoes.
Maybe I should have left the potatoes for longer. Should I have waited for the entire plant to die, not just the leaves, before I dug out the potatoes? I think this is what I will do with the two remaining potato plants which sit beside the one I just dug up.
All is not lost. I put the little potatoes and the remains of the plant in the compost bin and I hope that I have learnt from this mistake and will be able to harvest potatoes from the two remaining plants.
One reason I planted potatoes is that they can form the substance to a meal, just like corn or pumpkins, which I have also planted. Potatoes are a good form of carbohydrates and because I’m not a supermodel, I do include carbs in my diet.
So, the first potato harvest was a failure, but hopefully the next one will be more successful.
Right, now what should I cook with the silverbeet?