P107: Potatoes, Peas and Planting
I was reading a website I really enjoy called Wasted Food the other day and was charmed by the innocence and enthusiasm of the blogger, Jonathon. He showed this picture of potatoes from his refrigerator. He was so guilty about forgetting them, failing to eat them and letting them sprout. I found it a delight to read in the comment thread that Jonathon didn’t know he could plant these in the ground and get potatoes. He was exuberant.
This week my food post is a little different. I am in full tilt boogie planting mode, so I haven’t been preparing food. I was thankfully fed by my son with a restaurant meal or two, I ate popcorn one meal and I have skipped a bunch of meals. Everything in my home and patterns are in disarray.
The planting project is gargantuan and I am putting all my energy toward that. Early this morning I placed the labels I made last night in the rows. I still have a zillion more to make, but I needed to feel some accomplishment. As I start this day my hands are barkin’ because I am using muscles intensely – muscles seldom used in my hands. That is my theory and it works for me better than arthritis, so I am sticking to it.
Back to the potatoes and peas. . . Some weeks ago I got advice and free potatoes from a farmer at my farmer’s market. He told me how to grow potatoes. One of his methods was to just take a barrel and put sand in it and bury some potatoes. When green starts showing, throw more sand and potatoes in and continue this all the way to the top. In some (I forget the duration) amount of time you will have a barrel filled with potatoes. I think we may try this. In the meantime I have the few Peruvian purple and fingerlings that he gave me. They have sprouted and I am going to plant them today in a spot already designated for potatoes.
Last Sunday I got some snow peas for my salads. But, as we were planting we realized we didn’t have any seeds for snow peas. So, today I will donate a bunch of my snow peas to plant around a couple palm trees. We intend to have them climb the palms. Several of the palms already have scarlet runner beans planted around them.
My planting partner, the young manager, took apart Roma tomato for its seeds a couple of weeks ago. These seedlings have grown like crazy and we hope to get them planted today too.
This is so basic a cycle from the garden to the table to the ground or to the worms to the ground. I hope more and more neighbors start getting how really simple this might be for our small group of 49 homes. And maybe someone will be as thrilled as Jonathon with this discovery of the relationship of our food to the earth.
As a post script, I will mention that I purchased my very first pomelo at the farmer's market Sunday. This grapefruit like citrus was the size of a child's head. It was huge. The farmer and his wife speak very little English, so a woman jumped in and started explaining to me that a pomelo was related, but not a grapefruit. The outer skin is very thick and the sections need to be peeled to separate the tough skin from the fruit. It is mild and sweet, not in the least bitter like grapefruit.
I won't be trying it again any time soon though, because it was just too much work to get to the good stuff, and a huge pile of waste. I could make candied peel if I cooked with such things, but I don't. I thought it would be a good grab and eat food for this busy week, but it was not that simple. Bitch, bitch, bitch. I think I am distracted, tired, aching and cranky. But, I am grinning about the damn garden. It is beautiful.