It was Good Friday: Nora didn't feel like going outside. It looked like it might storm. I'd picked up a bag of potato "seed" at Orscheln's and wanted to have them in that day, so Nora and I came to an agreement--I would only be 15 minutes outside at the most, and then we could go inside and play Barbie.
Sidenote: Potato seeds are actually potatoes that have sprouted "eyes"--you know, those yucky root things that sprout when you've had a bag of potatoes too long. Yeah, those are what you plant--the whole thing with at least two eyes on it. But don't try to plant store bought potatoes. They're sprayed with some sort of chemical to keep them from sprouting. Not that I would know, but...uh, anyway...
I grabbed the shovel, found a patch of ground in the garden that wouldn't be in the way when it came time to till the rest of it, and started flipping up black pieces of dirt opening like lids, literally throwing one of the potatoes in and dropping the lid of dirt back down on top. I dug 24 holes--well, 23--(Nora wanted to keep one of the seeds as her "baby potato") and called it good. At 8-10 pounds of potatoes per plant, I'd be looking at 200 pounds of potatoes and 35 pounds of weight gain if I deep fried all of them. I was counting calories before they'd hatched.
Well, you know about the organic aphid spray.
And when I went out today to survey more of the damage, this is what I met:
Yep. That's all that was left of those beautiful, green, blooming potato plants. This is what I'd expect to see if someone decided to go after the aphids with a flame thrower. I should have done that. It was around the 4th of July after all.
Nora was on her new swing, which we'd anchored with dog chain stakes and large metal washers--my stepdad is a problem solver. I grabbed my gardening fork--I still don't know what to call it. Luckily, it responds to physical rather than verbal cues. And I turned over a patch of dirt expecting to find a few quarter-sized potatoes. I think you know what's coming here. Hiding under all that dirt and burnt looking foliage--40 pounds of beautiful, red potatoes.
I was yelling at Nora from my side of the fence while she flew air bound on the swing, "Buried treasure. Nora! I just found buried treasure. Hey, do you wanna see where potatoes come from?"
Yep. That's where potatoes come from--dirt. They're tubers attached to a root system. Did you know that? I didn't for a long time. It's kind of neat to learn about this stuff. Since beginning to garden, I've been amazed by the amount of dirt that has to be washed off of the things we eat. My kitchen and (aptly named) mud-room is a mess right now because food grows in dirt. The grocery store tells a different story--potatoes that grow on trees. That's the only way they could be that clean, right?
And when we'd installed the swing, and her butterfly garden was blooming and the cucumbers and sweet peas were climbing the north and east sides of the fence, and she stood still for a moment on the sidewalk as the breeze lifted her hair, Nora said: "This is God's glory. Did you know that atoms are like the glue that God uses to put everything together? Mom, is my swing set made of atoms?"
"It is. Don't you think it's funny that the first man was named Adam? And it sounds like Atom?"
"Being outside is really nice. This is God's glory."
"Yes, it is. Where did you learn that?"
"I just knew it."