In my area this is the time to plant potatoes for an early crop. I haven't planted them much in the last few years. When I was finishing up my schooling it was simply a lack of time. Only the essentials made it onto my short list. Potatoes, so goes the argument, are cheap and space should be devoted to more special things. But lately, dreams of new potatoes in cream sauce keep drifting through my mind.
Potatoes are a crop with great nostalgic content for me. In my memory the feel and smell of a newly turned up row of potatoes lingers on. It was a garden treasure hunt. Dad dug a deep furrow with his Wheel Horse walk behind tractor and I scurried along behind, rooting through the dirt and tossing the bright purplish red potatoes out onto the path. It was a great excuse to get really dirty (as if I needed one) and help my Dad. And there was a big pile of potatoes to show for our efforts.
We stored these potatoes under a nearby tree to let them dry and we used them as we needed. One of my jobs was to run outside and bring in some potatoes in a little wooden produce basket so that we could have that Southern staple for supper, fried potatoes.
I hope to hone my potato skills in the next two or three years. I learned a new potato term yesterday- chitting potatoes. This means to expose the seed potatoes to light and let them start sprouting. The potatoes in the picture have developed sprouts prior to being planted. I know potatoes will grow without chitting, but it does seem to speed things up.
One of my goals is to grow potatoes so that my granddaughter can dig potatoes when she comes for summer visits. At two years of age she already shows an affinity for potatoes. In her small pink plastic play frying pan she puts a medium-sized russet baking potato and with great concentration and seriousness, extends her arm to you saying- “tato tea, tato tea, want some tato tea?”. This year potatoes are definitely on my short list.