May is Potato planting time around these parts.
We have a range of once-grown seed Potatoes that have been cut and warmed to prepare them for planting.
Our Seed Potatoes slumbered in the rather chilly side porch all Winter. Now their internal clock is going off and sprouts have appeared. As always, Spring brings all of our Garden work crashing down in one giant marathon. Tender plants and long season vegetables such as onions have been growing steadily since February and thousands of other plants have been sowed in succession. It’s getting pretty fabulous around here actually!
But back to the potatoes… This year we are growing – Caribe, Chieftain, River John Blue, Green Mountain and the old Plain-Jane Russets. I desperately wanted to get some Amarosa Potato seed but no one around here carries them and the shipping cost on Seed Potatoes is rather brutal. So it will have to be next year for that neato pink fleshed fellow. But… oh my stars! are they ever pretty.
Our Green-Sprouting Potatoes are not so pretty right now. In fact you could likely call them fairly ugly. There is a method to the madness. These Seed Potatoes are being prepared for planting by a process called “chitting” or “Green-sprouting”.
We “chit” or “Green-sprout” our Seed Potatoes to increase yields and to prevent the dominant eye from sapping the energy of the rest of the eyes. The Seed Potatoes are cut into halves and set in a warm bright location for a week or two and this begins the sprouting process. They look pretty terrible at this stage but rest assured they will take off when we get them in the ground.
Below is last year’s Potato growth in the Potato field at the top of our hill. This field has been planted for at least forty years. There is something kind of wonderful about farmland that been well stewarded for generations. Good Ground.
We have discovered one the few advantages of growing vegetables on an extremely wind swept island. The diseases and pests which plague most growers are absent here – no blight, no Potato bugs and way too windy for the virus laden Green Peach Aphids. This means we are able to save our own Seed Potatoes and to raise our crops naturally. Very Good.
We have been graced with the use of this fabulous growing space this year. It is very touching to have such support and kindness extended to our little endeavour and we are determined to make the most of it.
The tubers do have a pretty fantastic view from up there. Such a pretty Potato-y place and so peaceful.
Very Good Ground Indeed.3