Saturday, August 27, 2011

Involuntary harvest

It's late August, and we harvested a pile of potatoes:
...but we weren't planning to.  See, these are new potatoes.  Like the tasty ones Ceredwyn harvested in July.

We returned from a trip late at night to find one of our potato plots wiped out.  All the green leaves, shoots, and vines were simply gone.  Ceredwyn and I stomped around in the dark, waving a flashlight around, to learn that in a very few days these healthy plants were killed off by the cursed blight.

Yes, that's the same monster that did in mid-19th-century Ireland, and ate up our potatoes last year.  It's hard to describe the mix of horror and wrath any sign of it brings to our hearts, but perhaps Ceredwyn's pithy observation does the trick: "Now I know why the Irish drink."

We're learned to monitor each crop daily - sometimes twice daily - in search of telltale blight signs.  Acting quickly, we cut off the corrupted bits and secure them in isolated trash.  The uninfected plant usually survives.

But we were gone, away for more than a week, while the bastard settled on this patch and ate it to the ground.

So how do we have spuds?  The plants had generated potatoes right until their death, and the tubers remained underground.  Their skins are thin at this stage, so that they will rot, unless discovered and harvested.  Which is what we did.

Without the usual spud's thick skins, these can't be stored for long.  What you see in that photo is potatoes for about one week, maybe more, if refrigeration holds out.  A small victory snatched from blight's vile defeat.

On the positive side, our other plots were uninfected.  Our strategy of setting up a series of potato patches distributed around the land seems to work, so far.  These guys are ok.

Another positive note: the spuds' high quality is a vote for the mulch method.  This poor plot was one of our experiments.  Here's what we did.

1 comment:

Megadoom said...

tragedy of the spuds. BTW, you can now find me at Llamedos. Gnomore has banned me at TOA. LOL