The chef in my life looked curiously at the package that arrived this spring “your Mother sent you potatos for your birthday?!” “Yup, it’s the year of the spud!” I declared.
This season the Gypsy Garden was largely left to fend for itself as other priorities took precedence. Random flowers found a place the borders outside our heritage home apartment while the rest was left to nature to nurture, until a curious box arrived on my birthday from Mom containing… potatoes.
The box was marked “CAUTION, THIS WAY UP” and “I’M ALIVE” written in black marker in her handwriting. Inside were four spouting potatoes, padded with plain paper, two black collapsible Potato Bags, and five lines instruction.
How to use the Potato Bag: Place in full sun with good drainage. Fill halfway with organic earth, place 2 – 3 spouted potatoes, well spaced, on soil. Cover potatoes with more earth to within 2 inches of the top. Water well for three to five days and then as needed. Potatoes will grow and bloom within 4 to 6 weeks, harvest new potatoes 30 days after booming, or regular sized potatoes 60 days after blooming, before a hard frost.
My Mother, Jolleen, is a Master Gardener and from a young age she schooled me well in the art of tending all things flora. When we stroll together through nurseries she rattles off latin names, and is famous for her garden pilgrimages (and butter tart laden Christmas packages) to my far flung abodes over the years.
Sadly, we are both homebound at the moment, her in Nova Scotia and me entrenched in Ottawa. Besides phone calls and the occasional Skype visit we haven’t seen each other in three years. In a family where dirt is a connecting factor, her gift of growing tubers was precious.
This was my first Potato Bag experience. So simple; just plant, water, wait. Standing about two feet high and equally as wide, the fabric allows the roots to breathe, and be protected from underground thieves. Even with my hectic summer schedule, this was totally attainable. As leaves began to sprout garden critters began to nibble and munch. I swear I never saw them bloom, I thought perhaps the hoped for bounty would be lost but to my surprise, that was not the case.
As I unearthed the potato vines that now tumbled over the edge and across the lawn, I found potatoes of all sizes just waiting to be plucked, washed and consumed. Nature’s gentle reminder that sometimes one must dig for the reward and harvest what lies hidden, under the big, harvest moon.