Thursday, August 13, 2009

You say "potato", I say "AAACKK!!"

Potatoes, potatoes, my how I don't like potatoes. I mean, I do like potatoes. I like to eat them and make french fries, and hash browns, and baked potatoes, and potato donuts. I just don't like to grow them. For an easy to grow crop like potatoes, they sure can be the scourge of the garden.

A few years ago my husband brought home 300 pounds of potatoes from a local potato field. He thought that our pigs could eat the potatoes and get fat. Well, pigs can't have lots and lots of raw potatoes because that will give them stomach ulcers. I was not about to cook for the pigs so we threw the potatoes in the compost/manure pile and thought that was the end of that. The next year I noticed some potato plants growing on top of the compost/manure pile. I didn't think much about it. The next spring we took the compost/manure pile and put it on top of the garden. Little did I know what kind of beast we had unleashed by throwing those potatoes in the pile so long ago. That year there were a few potato plants in the garden. The had grown from some of the leftovers that had been in the compost/manure pile. I was happy to see some plants growing and happily harvested the fresh potatoes in the fall. I didn't think any thing more of it.

This year my husband tilled the garden spot with a rototiller. The dirt that was kicked up from the rototiller was beautiful and black and wonderful. Unfortunately the tiller did an unexpected thing of basically waking up all the little pieces of potatoes that had laid dormant from when we had transferred the compost/manure pile over to the garden. This year we didn't just get a few potato plants growing unexpectedly in the garden, we got a few hundred! There are potato plants everywhere! They are in the middle of my rows of peas, in my rows of carrots, next to my tomatoes, in my squash hills, everywhere! These surprise garden guests are crowding out all the plants that I actually planted this year.

It got so bad that last night I decided to take out some of the potatoes so that my other plants could continue to grow without being choked out by the potatoes. I harvested 1/4 of the plants and got 5 gallons of potatoes!!! I harvested the potatoes with a sinking heart because I found there was lots of little, tiny seed potatoes growing. These potatoes won't be big enough to make plants this year, but they will be lying in wait for next year. They will be just sitting in the dirt waiting and hoping for their opportunity to strike out and choke my garden next year! I am sure every single potato that I missed harvesting this year will greet me again next year. AACK!