Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dig it!

(Yukon Gold potatoes and a wiffle ball)

It has turned cool here the past week so I decided to make soup for supper --  Zuppa Toscana and  paired it with a fresh artisan loaf of bread.  I thought I had potatoes in my pantry, but didn't.  But wait!  I did have potatoes... in the potato patch!  I slipped on my clogs and went out to check underneath the straw to see if perhaps there were a few nice spuds I could harvest for my soup.  I pulled back the straw from one of the withered plants and there were four softball sized Yukon Gold spuds waiting for me.  Oh joy!

As you may recall, I did a version of the No-Dig Method of Potato Planting again this year with a small change.  I dug in the seed potatoes just about 3" under the soil and then covered them heavily with straw mulch.  When the potato plants came up and shot up a foot or so, I added another thick layer of straw.  I only watered my potato patch 3 times this summer, and it was wet enough to grow potatoes along with some slugs (ew!).  I only needed one of these large potatoes to make a small pot of Zuppa for Hubs and me.  And oh, did it taste good.  The Yukon Golds have such a thin skin that there is really no need to peel them for the soup. I've only dug up a few more spuds so far to share with my dad who is always so generous with me sharing his abundance of garden produce.

Dad and I were talking about our gardens, the ups and downs of each of them.  He has fabulous tomatoes, beef steaks, that are bigger than the palm of his hand, while mine are pathetic and few. He has gobs of apples, and I have two.   He has peppers galore, and I have a few small ones.  My garden, however, has wonderful carrots and potatoes, pumpkins and squash, cucumbers and lettuces. Dad started telling me about his father's garden in eastern South Dakota.  I was just a girl, and I remember walking through rows of tall, tall corn, and getting lost in the rows.  Grandpa's garden was huge!  His garden grew long rows of sweet corn, taller than Grandpa's head, and there were rows of spuds and tomatoes and carrots and beans and all manner of garden vegetables.  Dad told me that Grandpa never watered his garden, that there was always just enough rain to keep the garden growing through the summer.  That amazes me because I could not grow a thing here if I didn't have water.  I cannot ever count on there being summer rains to keep a garden moist enough to grow and produce anything.  After growing row gardens in the past and now raised bed gardens, I do think that row gardens retain moisture better than the raised beds.  Do you think so?  Mulch sure helps too, but I don't remember there being any mulch on Grandpa's garden.

I took old Tom Jefferson's advice this summer and planted a teaspoon of lettuce seed every other week or so and I have lovely greens at various stages of maturity.  I haven't bought a head of lettuce all summer, and we eat a LOT of lettuce here.  Salads daily.  It's going to be hard to go back to grocery store lettuce when summer's over.

Are you hearing murmurings of an early fall and a hard winter coming up?  I have, but I'm ignoring it all.  I love summer so much that I refuse to listen to it, but instead I will live in the day and live summer to the hilt until it has passed into fall.  Most people think summer is over when school begins, but I disagree.  Summer is summer until it is gone (Sept. 22nd) and even then we might get a nice little extension of Indian Summer.  I'm hopeful.  I want more gardening, more homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers, more barefoot days, more sunshine on my skin, more flowers blooming and green grass growing, and more warm rains falling on pastures.  I want more days with short-sleeved shirts and shorts, more sandal days, more days pushing the grands in the swings, and more birdsong and duckquacks.  A pair of Sandhill Cranes are roosting in the big cottonwoods near our house at night.  I see them fly up from the trees when I walk by in the evening.  I want more of that too.  Do you think I want too much?  Enjoy summer.  I am will be!


  1. Ahhh, sadly, summer is almost gone -- although I agree with you, I don't count it over until mid-September. Your gardens sound wonderful -- critters get into my tiny patch, so I'm thinking it's almost not worth it. And your spuds look divine!

  2. We don't in a normal year, get cold weather until Halloween, and some years like the last few Thanksgiving. We started our spring at the first of February, so I am a little weary of summer. :)
    My tomatoes haven't done worth a darn but the peppers have gone crazy. I think next year I will try your potato planting. Well, I don't know what I will do if we have more drought. No garden for sure.
    I remember it raining more too when I was a kid. We had pastures all around us and we didn't have to irrigate like now.
    It sounds so nice to be fixing soup. I am looking forward to that.
    I hope your summer lasts as long as you would like. I know your winters sure last long.

  3. I say it's not over till its over. How nice to have fresh bounty out your door! That soup sounds so delicious...

  4. Lovely potatoes! Nope, I love summer so I don't think you are asking too much. I live where there is serious SNOW so you deserve all the nice summer weather you can get.

  5. My garden is a mess right now! A couple weeks of hot, humid weather have kept me inside, and it's really time to clean up and plant for fall. Funny, we can grow lettuce in the fall, sometimes through December, and again in early spring, but the summer is just too hot. So I'm looking forward to the cooler weather, as homegrown lettuce is almost as good as homegrown tomatoes (but not quite).

    I'm going to try your way of growing potatoes!


  6. Your Yukon Golds are lovely! Yum! I pray summer hangs on for a long time, just for you!

  7. I agree, I agree! If I grew potatoes I think they would be Yukon Golds. So buttery and creamy...

  8. You're such a doll :) Summer must love you too! You do give it a lyric quality and make it sound so heavenly. Summer to me is just overwhelming heat -- a stifling oven of discomfort -- and waves of mosquitoes. I'm always eager for it to go away, so I can go back outside again :) Your garden sounds fabulous! And your historical gardens sound great too!

  9. Oh I loved your post. My mom used to have a huge garden. She never had to water it (I did):) My job was also to mulch it with lawnmower clippings. I have also been growing my potatoes under straw. It is ten times more productive than in the ground. We just picked sweetcorn. The first and probably last. What is left needs about a week and it is supposed to snow tonight or tomorrow. Drat. Gardening is the best form of gambling.


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