Grit Blogs > Of Mice and Mountain Men

Just Small Potatoes

Of Mice and Mountain MenI’ve spent the past few days working at pulling out the summer crop and setting up my garden boxes for the winter crop – or for laying fallow for the winter.  While working with these boxes, I’ve come across a few surprises.

One was a fair number of tiny garlic plants.  Some were just poking their heads up through the dirt; some were still curled up underground.  All had small, onion-like bulbs and a few inches of green leaf making its way sunward.  I’ve tossed these into the salad making supplies in the fridge.  I have a plentiful supply of garlic cloves on hand already so I feel no need to try to nurture these to maturity.

Another surprise was a fair number of small potatoes.  Some were not too much of a shock: I had potatoes in those boxes earlier in the year and must have missed a few very small potatoes when I harvested the box.  These had now grown to 1½-by-3-inch spuds.  BONUS!  A few had rotted – blech!

Smallpotatoes

The shocker was when I pulled out a box of pole beans.  I raked the dead leaves and vine debris off the top of the dirt for composting and as I scratched the surface of the soft soil I rolled up a couple of small spuds.  These were an inch or so long and were sitting just under the surface, buried by dead leaves.  I grabbed my cultivator and began carefully pulling up the rich, dark humus and turning it over.

Working carefully I discovered another dozen or so taterlets, each between ¾ inches and 1½ inches in diameter.  What was amazing to me about this is that there have not been potatoes planted in this box since LAST summer.  Is it possible that some tiny lil potatoes were missed – or possibly just potato roots – in the fall of 2012, wintered there and over the course of the summer and early fall grew into these tubers without the aid of potato plant greenery?  Must be, because the proof is in the spudding.

The 3-inch-plus spuds from my collection have been set aside for baking tonight.  Marie will stop off and pick-up some fish to go with them and we’ll add a small head of broccoli.  And we still have a bit of watermelon in the fridge for desert. 

Smallpotatoesfrozen

The rest got cut into ½-inch pieces (I’d call them cubes except none are actually cubes – more like pyramids and quarter-rounds), boiled them and they are spread on a cookie sheet in the freezer now.  As soon as they are solid I’ll bag them up and put them back in the freezer for use as Southern fried potatoes or in soup and stews this fall.

Have you turned up any bonus crops this fall?  

nebraskadave
10/18/2013 10:22:50 AM

Allan, I haven't started my garden cleanup just yet. I usually like to wait for the first frost but this year it's taking too long so I might have to start ahead of the frost. It's three days past the first frost date which is not usual but most of the garden is not producing. I still must dig up the potatoes and begin the preparation to cover the whole garden with neighborhood confiscated yard waste mixture of leaves and grass. It's the best stuff ever to use for mulch. You probably remember when I snagged about 600 bags last year and I plan to do it again this year. I have another 900 square feet in addition to the 8100 square feet from last year to cover. Most of the new area will be planted in sacrificial corn in an attempt to keep the critters from climbing the fence to get my prime sweet corn. I now have almost three sides of the fence completed and hope to get the last side completed before the ground freezes. ***** Have a great fall day in the garden.