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.

12 comments:

Jurgo said...

All my favorite bloggers are garden-blogging this week and it's giving me some serious plant envy. All I've got growing in my apartment right now is my scraggly ivy that barely survived the long dark Michigan winter. I'd love to grow food but all I have are two small north-facing windows. I've heard lettuces and leafy greens do okay in low light though, so I may have to see if I can manage some salad this summer.

You're an utter inspiration.

katecontinued said...

And you are a sweetheart for saying so. I just came in for a late lunch. I am hurting so much I am having a beer.

We are laying out a 13 foot square in an area I call the back 40. It is where we are going to plant lettuce, kale, spinach and other leafy greens that can't take the intense heat.

Seriously,jurgo, consider a gro-light and one box o' plants. Something simple like lettuce where you can get instant gratification. You can feel connected with so little. I know because I started last year with just a few plants in a raised bed. I felt like Mr.fucking Greenjeans.

Chile said...

Wow, you've accomplished so much! I can't wait to see all this green up. Do try to eat some real food, though, to keep your strength up. :)

Rosa said...

That is an awe-inspiring amount of work! I love the tidy tilled rows with the pine cones around them.

I am slacking on my garden, but I'm justifying it by telling myself that the less I get done now, the less will go undone later. We will see.

katecontinued said...

Chile, I am eating steak and vegetables from the kid tonight. Painting happens tomorrow and I need my strength. We just finished the back forty (about 150 sf of lettuces, spinach, kale, chard, basil, and other green leafies).

katecontinued said...

Rosa, your approach was exactly the one I used successfully last year. This year I am counting on other sentient beings to jump in when I don't. We shall see.

I am proud of the layout and the pine walkways. These were my inspiration because I remember the group last year didn't make the walking part very clear. Besides, I love to feed the eye and the spirit as well as the body.

Melinda said...

Wow, Kate, that looks great! It's a huge plot! Love the mulch on the paths, too. ; ) My garden is homeless. It feels so weird. I'm living vicariously, looking at what everyone is growing! But I'm with Chile: don't forget to nurture yourself as you're nurturing your plants. It's a lot of hard work, and you need that energy.

lavonne in san diego said...

Your garden is gorgeous--and it's not even green yet! I love the pine cones. I feel your pain, btw. Mine is in my back and hips, so bending down is a real issue that has kept me from gardening on my balcony in the past. But I'm going to try again this year. Thanks for the inspiration!

lavonne in san diego said...

Forgot to ask: I have some onions that sprouted. Sounds like I could plant them too, right? I'm gonna google some instructions and try it.

katecontinued said...

lavonne -
Thank you for your compliments. It means a great deal. I feel like it is like being a kid again . . . Let's stick it in the ground and see what happens!

As I said to the neighbors at the first community meeting regarding worm composting, planting and painting. We have nothing to lose to be as adventurous and experimental as we want. The worst that could happen is that we kill a worm, a plant doesn't thrive or we need to paint over the wrong color. It is hard to go wrong with the bar set that low.

I do think the attractive garden may attract more volunteers (not an accident).

pizzadiavola said...

The pine cones lining the beds are adorable! Nice touch, and very organic.

katecontinued said...

Thanks pizzdiavola. I appreciate you stopping by . . .