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A good day to dig potatoes

October 7, 2010

“What have we here?’  Wheeling his horse around, Lynch leapt the stone wall inches over Jack’s head and rode over to me.  A shiver started in my belly.  “What’s your name, girl?”

“Kathleen Byrne, sir.”

A glimmer of recognition crossed his eyes.  For a moment, I hoped he might let me go.  “And what would a girl like you be doing wallowing like a wild sow in Lord Fraser’s fields?”

With a few potatoes at my feet I couldn’t deny the truth.  “Digging potatoes, sir.  I didn’t think Lord Fraser would mind.”

“Tom, tie her up.  We’re taking her to jail.”

Tom looked at his father in shock. From Greener Grass, by Caroline Pignat A story of the Great Famine, Ireland 1847.

I love potatoes!


Melvin always helps in the garden.


He’s hunting for voles, I am looking for potatoes.


Nothing new here – I hill my potatoes.   I plant my potatoes bio-extensively in wide rows, with wide spacing which is the best way for dryland potato growing.  The hills are above the soil level, I don’t have to dig, I just swipe off the hill with my spading fork to expose the potatoes, and gently ease them out of the soil.   Pretty easy really.

Hot potato!


Melvin thought it was a good day to milk his recuperation.


Jane had to come see what we were doing.


I had no idea I would have so many visitors at the potato patch.


The end of a good day.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2010 2:11 am

    melvin sure enjoys the garden. those potatoes are beautiful!

  2. Attila permalink
    October 7, 2010 2:52 am

    Lovely pictures! They were just making sure you were properly supervised, especially the cat!

  3. October 7, 2010 3:15 am

    Cat is very sweet!

    I’m hoping to get my garden Lasagna-fied this fall. It comes second to the work in the orchard, so we’ll see. Got lots of cardboard left from the move, straw, manure – can get some coffee grounds and dirt from the woods to kick-start the biology if I don’t run out of time. We’ve had a couple hard frosts at night, but days are still beautiful and up to 70. Nice working weather.

  4. October 7, 2010 3:23 am

    Beautiful potatoes! And what nice helpers you have too! I grew potatoes for the first time this year in my little share garden and digging them up was like a treasure hunt! So much fun and the difference in taste from the store bought potatoes was amazing! I’ll be growing them again next year.

  5. October 7, 2010 4:28 am

    Looks like your weather is co-operating and you had lots of help in the garden. Beautiful pictures and nice looking potatoes too. Jane is growing so fast and what a beauty she is! she has such a sweet face. I hope you’re weather is being good again today if you have to work in the garden. Take care.
    Maura 🙂

  6. October 7, 2010 4:44 am

    Lovely looking potatoes!

  7. October 7, 2010 5:39 am

    The spuds look wonderful! Are those Caribe? We grow Caribe and Russets and this year our crop was bountiful. We have approx. 500 to 600lbs in the root cellar( a combination of the two)

    Isn’t it amazing how curious the animals are when you are busy doing something outside? Our cows always come to the fence to see if perhaps we may indeed have something to share with them*wink*

    As always love your photos

    Love your last photo; ” The end of a good day” Made me giggle a bit :o)

    • October 7, 2010 6:30 am

      Kelle, the potatoes are Viking Purple, the most productive variety I have grown here. I only planted one variety this year because of our late spring – but they did very well. Can’t wait to weigh and sort today and see how much we have.

      I’m sure Jane was hoping to at least get a pet or two out of the deal! The cat chickened out, and went back to the barn with her body guard 🙂

  8. October 7, 2010 6:41 am

    Wow, that’s a lot of similar sized potatoes, they look great! Love the last ‘butt’ photo:)
    My potato success story this year was a couple of boxes of Norlands that I brought home from the store where they were about to be thrown out. Very long shoots on them, so I planted them horizontally. I wasn’t expecting much, as this was about July 23, so imagine my pleasure at finding good potatoes under those hills two months later:)

  9. Diana R.Smith permalink
    October 7, 2010 6:55 am

    I love to dig potatoes…like a treasure hunt at every hill! We used to live by a potato farmer in MI and could get the best potatoes ever. He grew Golden Bakes as big as a babies head…the reason why you can’t find them and Yukon Gold is the potato of choice as it isn’t so lumpy and bumpy. But,oh they were delicious. We would haul his culls to our church’s food bank. One year 15,000 lbs. That’s a mountain of ‘taters. He would “let” the kids work the line sorting out the rocks and they’d do it all day for free…or he’d dig a row and let them pick up our winter supply. Miss that fun.

    We grow our potatoes under straw. Ground so rocky and seems we always hit the rainy season when time to harvest so no digging in the mud this way. It is hard to grow long season potatoes without alot of counting on the calendar as it just stays warm so late in the year here. Next project root cellar. But every year we persevere as home-grown ‘taters should be in John Denver’s song about tomatoes! DEE

  10. October 7, 2010 7:38 am

    Nice spuds….and just the right size too.

  11. Linda Zoldoske permalink
    October 7, 2010 9:51 am

    Your soil is just marvelous! What they always say is the best soil to have! Lot of work goes into making it but then, wow!

  12. October 7, 2010 11:38 am

    I’m with Linda – your potatoes look gorgeous but look at that soil! You grow good dirt Nita.

  13. October 7, 2010 12:07 pm

    Nice potatoes! And I enjoyed your company!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

  14. October 7, 2010 12:15 pm

    Love the photos, especially the cat series! Looks like you’ve got a good potato harvest. No such luck here this year. Last year was great; this year, shouldn’t have wasted the garden space. Oh well. Next year…

  15. October 7, 2010 12:42 pm

    I grew our potatoes in hills last year and had a very good crop. This year I dug trenches and had such a poor crop due to less that perfect soil and voles. Next year … I hope to have better soil and plant in hills again. Your potatoes are so nice and big. Good helpers you have there in the potato patch.

  16. finding pam permalink
    October 8, 2010 7:44 am

    Wow! those are some awesome potatoes. Your soil is rich looking. How long did it take your soil to become so good?

    I adore the photo of Melvin on his back. Where is Trace? The cat is too funny and curious.

    Looks like everything is going great. Nothing better than a beautiful day to work the garden among all the other things that you do.

    Great photos of you pigs. What a misconception about mud and pigs. They were very clean and I respect how you prepared them for their journey to the slaughter house. You are very wise and so kind to all of your animals.

  17. MMP permalink
    October 8, 2010 6:52 pm

    Has that cat got a tail? It looks similar to a manx I had as a younger person. Manx, from the isle of Man..

  18. October 14, 2010 11:09 pm

    Is that Tatiana or Katrina or is it Egor?

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