I started harvesting the potatoes today. The entire northeast had wicked blight this year. The earliest late blight on record. The trains are still coming from out west, but many of the folks up in ‘Roostook county were already hanging on by teeth and toenails. Our tomato vines are still alive, and even starting to do well, but there is no fruit. We could still get some, but, well, it’s raining again.
We planted a lot of potatoes this this year. They’re 90% dead. We’re not going to get our seed back. A couple weeks ago I brought in a basketful from the first planted area, planted with stuff I’d kept over last winter. There was scab and soft rot, but there were also decent potatoes and even some vines still alive. Today I went to the other side of the garden, planted later but with bought seed. Not good. No scab, little (not zero) soft rot, not a plant left. Also few and small potatoes. We’re not going to get our seed back. A few of the Green Mountains are big enough to mash. Mostly it’s golf balls and down. The marble size go to the pigs, but what about the golf balls?
The pravda is that you should buy new certified seed every year. And I must admit that only the stuff I saved has scab. I’ve never had a problem eating a potato with scab. The All Blues have a lot of soft rot, but that sure looks to be a breed thing the red and whites we saved don’t seem any worse than the ones we bought. We didn’t plant any new All Blues this year so there’s no control population. So, eat new potatoes, or save seed? Certified seed or seed that lived through the worst year in decades here on my farm?
Perhaps relatedly, I ripped up bushels of nightshade to get the potatoes. What’s with that, why no blight there? Our pepper plants are doing ok now that there is actual sun, but not a fruit set. We do however have tomatillos everywhere. We don’t know why we have tomatillos, but we do. Might have to buy some chilis: Lisa’s enchiladas verde are something special. With backyard chicken and fresh tomatillos, words fail.
We walked over to check out where the pigs spent the winter. There are tomatoes there. There is a watermelon. There is an actual happy blossoming potato vine. It all came up late. It’s growing in pig manure. Us or the pigs? Who grew the better garden?