Remember back in May when I was green with envy?
Potato envy, that is. Our friend Tammy had a flourishing crop of potatoes growing in a cardboard box that I would have stolen if I could have lifted it. There was not a potato plant to be found anywhere in town given the flurry of pandemic gardening.
I resorted to mail order. Gotta admit I was a bit crestfallen when I saw what my $15 had purchased…caveat emptor! They were described as Adirondack Reds, although they clearly looked more like Adirondack Deads to me.
We planted them in grow bags in June (Tammy helped, and was kind enough not to point out that I could have found better looking potatoes than these for free in anyone’s vegetable bin…) and I marked today on the calendar – 90 days to harvest, I read on the card enclosed with the shriveled little specimens. I also read that potatoes are ready when their vines die down. One grow bag’s vines are still leafy…
But the other was bare and brown, so I grabbed a spade and dug in.
Today is most definitely the red letter day! So excited about the harvest. I actually grew something that looks edible!
They are pretty inside and out!
While the history of potatoes dates back to the Neolithic Age – it is believed that potatoes were first cultivated in modern-day Peru sometime between 8000 and 5000 B.C., the Adirondack Red is a 21st century creation, developed by Cornell University breeders in 2004. They are noted for their pink flesh and high levels of anti-oxidants. So maybe they were worth $15 after all?
It was absolutely worth $15 to dig into the grow bag and come up with those beauties. Like Christmas morning! What a great gardening project this would be for kids, if they can be persuaded to wait out the three-month growing period. All you have to do is “hill” the soil to prevent the roots from being exposed and be careful not to over water. Hey, if I can do it, anyone can do it.
All in all, the summer gardening experiment has taught me to be endlessly grateful to the farmers who grow our food. I now walk through the produce section of a grocery store with awe and amazement.
And I haven’t completely given up hope on the tomatoes, by the way…maybe we’ll actually end up with a few to put in a salad.
Meanwhile, tomorrow morning we’re going to celebrate our Adirondack Red Letter Day by scrambling some fresh hen’s eggs and frying up some potatoes. I’m declaring the garden experiment a success!