In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lazy potato harvest

In May I filled six old fish-bait boxes with eelgrass and little dirt, and buried pieces of seed potato in them.It was a local version of the traditional lazy potato bed. I had never done anything like it. Not even close.

I didn't keep track of which potatoes grew in which boxes, so I didn't learn anything about the varieties I planted: Yukon Gold, Green Mountain, Red Pontiac, Kennebec, and Russet. Next year I'll label the boxes. The truth is, I couldn't really believe that the whole thing would work. Potatoes in just a few inches of eelgrass and dirt: it seemed much too fantastic.

And it was fantastic, first when the seed potatoes sent up their bright green shoots, then stems, then luxuriant leaves, and later when the green vines withered and turned yellow and brown. I harvested potatoes in October, and yesterday I pulled up the last of them. Altogether the harvest was thirty one and a half pounds, a delightful amount.
Potatoes grow well in the Maritimes, and I can buy local ones -- from PEI or Nova Scotia -- at the grocery store. They aren't expensive to buy, and they probably taste about the same whether they are home-grown or store-bought. But it has been another experience that feels more like play than anything else, to root around in the soil with my hands and discover these beautiful potatoes hiding there. Maybe not all of them beautiful in the grocery store sense, but beautiful to me.
I can see how it would be hard work if there were a whole field of potatoes to dig up. But digging around for thirty one and a half pounds of them was just plain fun. Just like Margot said it would be.

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