I find it fascinating how much more I am dependent on our local weather patterns. My perspective has changed significantly since I have begun planning this small farm. I am much more in tune with the forecasts. When it rains with seemingly no end in sight I have always been of the mind that I will appreciate the sun that much more when it finally arrives. Now I just want the field to drain.
The kind folks at Bakerview have offered to till the land that I’m farming on, but since the soil has a relatively high clay content and it is soaking wet they can’t put their machinery over it, because the soil will simply compact and become useless planting terrain. So every time it rains, I picture my sprouting potatoes and sigh a little.
I’ve been told that it isn’t uncommon for farms to have to wait until May to plant seed potatoes. As a matter of fact, planting in May was traditional before we introduced all of the fancy farm equipment being used today. Furthermore, according to this awesome book I just discovered in the library, “Growing Potatoes Organically: From Market Garden to Field Crop” by Maureen Bostock, potatoes do well in clay soils if planted when the soil has had a chance to warm up first. It simply means I’ll have a harvest time that is a bit later in the season.
I suppose for EAF members, part of participating in a CSA is making these connections between the food we eat and everything that is involved (labour, land, weather). I feel a little less pressure knowing that I have the support of 15 (and counting) potato lovers, but at the same time I feel a sense of responsibility to everyone involved to make sure that I am successful this year. Don’t worry, if it means getting out there and mulching to soak up the excess water, rototilling the whole bloody potato patch and creating mini hoop houses over every potato row- I will. The potatoes will happen.
Anyway, part of giving my potatoes a head start involves chitting. Yes friends, chitting. There are so many possibilities for jokes here, but I’ll leave them to your imagination. Chitting is the term used to describe the process of sprouting your seed potatoes. The seeds that I have are quite small so I probably won’t cut them into their segments each containing an eye (another tip I’ve gained from that awesome book mentioned above). Instead, I’ll leave them whole, chitted and give them a little extra room between each other to spread their underground wings, which will hopefully lead to a greater yield.
Below, see chitted Yukon Gold, Red Chieftain, Sieglinde and Russian Blue.
In the meantime, there is still some planning to do and I ask each of you reading this blog entry right now to do your part by calling on the sun! Also, there are a few shares left, so if you know folks that might want to join, please forward this blog site along to them.
Happy spring friends!