Friday, April 1, 2011

Fools Rush In and Plant Potatoes

Usually we try to follow the handy rule of thumb: Plant your potatoes on St. Patrick's Day (March 17). It provides something to aim for and has a certain poetic appeal. I don't think I've ever hit the day exactly but we generally manage to get a few tubers under the dirt by the end of the month. My own rule of thumb is: Plant on St. Patrick's Day (i.e. in March) and have potato salad for the 4th of July.

This year there was so much rain in March that the backyard was as soggy as an Irish bog. (See Lake Chard pictured above.) I had almost decided not to bother with potatoes at all.

Then, on a rainy afternoon, I came across some seed potatoes at the new Baker Creek store -- the Seed Bank -- in downtown Petaluma. Sprawled across the splendid marble floor of what actually was a bank a few years back were some burlap bags of Red Lasoda and Small Carola from David Little's farm near Tomales. I weighed some out and brought them home.

It wasn't hard to set up a couple of containers, fill the bottoms with a layer of potting soil, and press the potatoes into the soil.

I hope there's no significance to the fact that the potatoes were planted on April Fool's Day, not St. Patrick's Day. I guess we will find out by the 4th of July.

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