Early July finds us in the “fall potato” patch, tilling, planting, and raking for the new crop.
Generally speaking, this is a great leap of faith. In July, the garden soil is dry and dusty; the promise of rain is always somewhat elusive. But, we plant the seed potatoes, praying all the time that the rains will materialize to allow us to see the fruits of our labors.
This year, for the first time I can remember in the many years we have been doing this “potato thing”, the weather was actually TOO WET for us to get the potatoes in on time. That big rain we had Monday evening meant we had to wait an extra day until the ground was dry enough to till. Then, yesterday afternoon, we received yet another big rain. There were puddles in the newly hoed potato patch. We won’t be worrying about rain for this crop.
“Faith like Potatoes”, is also the name of a movie. The 2006 movie is based on a true story of farmer Angus Buchan in South Africa. The movie is quite evangelical in tone, and portrays with harsh accuracy the brutality of farm life in South Africa, and I was deeply moved by it. Not to spoil the movie, but the upshot is” faith is like potatoes”. Just as potatoes grow beneath the surface…only found upon digging, faith is built in the deepest parts of us…we only become aware of its strength when our comfortable lives become disturbed. Personally, our lives have been disturbed (numerous times) and it has been amazing to see how our faith has grown. …and God ALWAYS provides… Sorry….didn‘t mean to wax philosophical.
Back to the potatoes…
in about 60 to 80 days, we will begin to have new potatoes, for the second time this season. New potatoes are those with the delicate skin and the fresh taste. As the potatoes age in the ground, the skin becomes thicker, allowing them to kept in storage longer. We have found that the potatoes planted in July keep so well that we have potatoes until the next harvest time the following year. If all goes according to plan, our winter customers should be able to get potatoes from us all winter. And Tom and I will also be able to enjoy all the potato recipes that we both love so much!
Last year, we had what was quite possibly our worst potato crop of all time. We planted 100 pounds of one variety, and harvested about 15 pounds. Not the return on investment anyone would expect! We returned to our regular supplier this year and are hopeful for much better results.
Quite honestly, looking at those long rows of hilled earth, it takes a great deal of faith to even begin to expect that there will be potatoes out there sometime this fall. But, based on past experience, there will be…wait and see!
Keep the faith…it is a recurring theme.