My Surprise Harvest
My intent was not to grow any this year, in my tiny little garden. Even with the intensive gardening methods I employed in order to grow more crops in a small space, I still had little faith that planting a potato would yield results. Now that I think about it, I realize that I could have planted in containers, or reserved a "square" of my garden for potato purposes, but at the time of planting, I was overwhelmed. "Potatoes will be for next year," I thought, "when I expand my garden and have more experience."
We'll get back to the potato. First I want to make a bit of a confession. You see, I wasn't planning on sharing my gardening blunder on this blog, as it might just discredit me as a gardener. However, after having a heartfelt conversation with my lovely sister, Ceriese, I came to the realization that telling my story may just prevent others from making the same mistake. So being the selfless person that I am, I will risk my reputation for the greater good.
It was a bright, cheery fall afternoon as I was pulling out the old squash plants, thanking them for being so fruitful and fantasizing about butternut squashes and what I would do to them in the kitchen... I digress... I was clearing out the old, dead squash plants. Later on in the season, they had developed a mild case of powdery mildew (which I stomped out by spraying neem oil), so I wanted to be sure to get them out of the ground, so as not to harbor any diseases over the winter.
As I cleared away the last of the crunchy leaves and stems, I saw something that confused me greatly. It was red and tuber-like. WHY was something red and tuber-like poking halfway out of the soil where the squashes lived? I reluctantly placed my hand on this strange abomination, still in denial that it could possibly be what it looked like- a red potato. It was, in fact a red potato. HOW did it get there? How on Earth does one plant potatoes without realizing it?
I dug deep, in the soil, and harvested about 5 more. Then, I dug deep into my brain, to figure out what the heck was going on. I finally broke out of my flabbergasted state, and recalled a simple potted plant, that Nick, my other half, had brought home one day from the hardware store where he works. When one sees a plant in a hanging basket, one does not automatically think, "Potato." What I did think was, "hmm, I wonder what this mystery plant is... I think I'll just plant it in the garden near these marigolds and see what kind of flowers it has... I better be quick, because the baby will be waking up soon." So I proceeded to stick the plant haphazardly into the soil- without noticing the roots, of course. Because WHO looks at the roots when they are transplanting? Okay, a lot of gardeners do. But in my defense, I was in a hurry.
As the spring turned into summer, I kept an eye on the mystery plant, which was planted in one of the front squares of the garden. It produced flowers, eventually, but they were unimpressive. The plant looked like this:
Cute, but not showy enough to earn this mystery plant protection from the ever-creeping butternut squash plants that I was nurturing. I love butternut squash, so I allowed it to take over, and the mystery plant seemingly disappeared from the garden, and my mind.
So that, my friends, is how one accidentally plants potatoes.
I'd like to think of myself as an avid gardener, with a green thumb. But you see, I'm clearly lacking in the experience department. And we all know that real life experience is what truly makes you good at something. Sure, I may have studied horticulture for a few years in college, but they didn't teach us how to plant potatoes. I can assure you, that I will never again fail to recognize a potato in any form. Those leaves, flowers, and tubers are now firmly implanted in my brain.
One quote comes to mind when I recall my biggest gardening mishap this year. In the words of the late artist, Bob Ross, "We don't make mistakes, just happy little accidents."
Wise words to remember.