We got our the first red potatoes of the season yesterday. They started life as about 50 potatoes that neighbors gave us two years ago because they’d sprouted. I didn’t harvest last year because the plants didn’t do well. This year they came back up more vigorously.
There are about six more rows that should yield this many or more, so we’re looking at 30-40 pounds of potatoes. That’s actually not a very high yield, but the soil in that part of the garden is very poor. It was once a road, which was “metaled” (oiled) in the 5os, creating an impermeable hardpan that’s now about eight inches down, locking the soil away from the nutrients contributed by the oak leaves and acorns that fall everywhere. Two years ago, when we got the potatoes, I broke up the hardpan in seven rows with a pickaxe, but it will take several seasons to bring up the fertility sufficiently.
Here’s the row after I dug up the potatoes. I took the opportunity to widen it by digging up more hardpan on each side. The black strip down the middle is the T-tape irrigation, which had been buried.
Once I’ve finished the harvest, I’ll fill the trenches in with an aged horse manure and sawdust mixture and some oak mulch, layer some dirt over it, and plant fava beans for the winter. That will get things ready for corn and curcurbits next year.
Friday evening we pressure-cooked the potatoes and had them with butter and a bit of salt and pepper. Creamy and delicious–potatoes, too, are better fresh from the garden!