November 15, 2008
I recently realised my dream of turning vegetable gardening into a spectator sport. When Bellgirl announced her Veg Around, I saw my chance: an opportunity to see what other folk are tending to in their herb and vegie gardens. All without the aid of gardening gloves, a hoe or the Yates Garden Guide. The virtual stroll through the garden after dinner, if you will. Something I could do from the comfort of my arm chair.
I had contemplated joining Veg Around, but kept shying away. Its not that I'm lazy, but to be frank I'm not particularly blessed in the green thumb department. There have been past accusations of vegetable overcrowding and neglect, which have been difficult to shake off. As they say, throw enough mud (or potting mix) and some will stick. Even I have to confess that arriving in the gardens of Chez Hoppo Bumpo is generally a one way ticket to that big plant-pot in the sky.
However last weekend past I was given some Nicola potatoes. Not the eating kind, but the sort of shrivelly, sprouty variety that one puts into a bit of earth. Argy and Bargy seemed excited about the prospect of growing something. I have never eaten freshly dug new potatoes and I'm fearful that the boys think potatoes come from a red freezer packet, ready stamped with a smiley face. So I have decided to turn over a new leaf (.... or sod). Time to shake off the past; to make amends for transgressions against flora. Time to grow vegies.
So my plan is to fill some trugs with potting mix and plant out the potatoes. (I saw this great idea for tub gardening, over at Sparkly Green Knickers' blog). In a daring move I might even try out some companion planting.
Firstly, though, I must address the small matter of how one grows potatoes. Everything I know about tater gardening could be written on the back of a postage stamp.
By contrast I know a little more about these tubers once they have been harvested. For example, did you know that potatoes are a little bit like gremlins? They really aren't that fond of being exposed to light for too long - sends 'em green, it does (though I think it might have polished off the gremlins .... bright light, bright light ...). Yes sirree, potatoes go off on a chlorophyll bender and then start producing chemical substances called solanine and chaconine, which can make you sick. These two chemical substances are a defence mechanism and can also be produced when a potato is cut, bruised or damaged. Who ever knew the humble potato might be so dangerous?
So I'm off to cover up those potatoes and make sure they don't see the light of day for a bit. In the meantime do you have any hot tips for growing the perfect spud?
Filed under: Gardening