September Spuds

This summer we’ve enjoyed featuring our freshly dug, homegrown potatoes in maybe half a dozen meals already. I’ve held off on the major harvesting until this week, though.

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Yesterday Son and I completed the unearthing of the spuds. The seed potato varieties I planted in April were Dark Red Norland, Cal White, Norland Rose, plus, saved from last year’s harvest, Yukon Gold and Red Pontiac. It was challenging to distinguish the varieties from each other as we dug, but all should taste excellent, so there’s no reason to worry.

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This year’s haul seems lighter than last year’s from the same field. It really is time for crop rotation! Potatoes are from the Solanaceae or nightshade family of plants, the same as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Plant families need forced migration to grow best, so next year we’ll swap the spud field for the field with cucurbit hills. The family Cucurbitaceae includes squash, zucchini, melons, cucumbers, and the like. Rotating these crops that grow in the flat area of the veggie garden will help maintain soil fertility and reduce issues with soilborne pathogens and harmful insects that prefer to chomp and destroy particular plant families.

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