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Spud Sunday: The Great Potato Heist Of 2009

It was a big weekend for me and my seed potatoes.

The spuds made significant progress on their journey to the dinner table by moving a few short, but nevertheless significant, steps from the shed to the new vegetable patch across the way.

For the vegetable patch, it was a grand unveiling of sorts. What had been a square of lawn had been manured and then covered for almost a year, giving the worms space to do the hard ground preparation work. All I needed to do was dig some drills, line them with manure and then relocate the spuds to their new home. No big drama. Or, at least, so one would have thought.

Tools of the potato planting trade

Tools of the planting trade

Off I went to the shed, where the seeds had been sprouting for some weeks now. In amongst the trays of sprouting tubers, I looked for the one that contained my three special rare and unusual specimens, which were to be given pride of planting place. They had been here, right at the edge of the bench but, could it be…? I caught my breath. They. Were. Gone. Noooooooooooooooo!

My first thought was obviously that I had been the subject of a daring heist by some mystery potato thief. Right at that very moment, my trio of rarities was probably being sold for megabucks to some shady international potato dealer. I was starting to wonder who would play me in the movie (Nicole Kidman, perhaps?) when I realised that there might just be another explanation.

I looked down and, lo, there was one and now two of my beauties. Over there, the egg carton that they had been sitting in prior to whatever assault it was that had landed them on the floor. Where was number three, though? I was about to be very upset (would Nicole be able to carry it off, I wondered?). I checked the other containers on the workbench and, yes, here was an interloper in the tray of Shetland Blacks. My trinity of tubers was restored. The only remaining problem was how to tell which was which, as the variety names had only been marked on the tray. Still, that was a problem for another day. The drama was over, the planting could proceed.


After the main planting event, I was wrapping up my weekend’s gardening with a little tidying in the old potato patch when what, to my surprise, did I find but a couple of stray tubers from last years crop of Sharpe’s Express. I took them in, scrubbed them, steamed them, took a moment to crown them with Kerrygold and some dill, snapped a picture for your benefit and promptly scoffed them. The winter spent in the ground didn’t appear to have done them any harm. In fact, they were the best potatoes I’ve eaten since, oh, sometime last summer. A lovely taster for what should be coming my way from the garden in around 10 weeks time. I can’t wait!

Steamed potatoes with butter and dill

Nothing old about these potatoes...


  1. jenn

    Nice. Those potatoes look delish. It would be nice to plant my own crop. (I can only imagine for now)

  2. Katrina Hall

    A hilarious ramble in the garden – and look forward to the movie. I’ve been scouting for a potato plot, but I use straw instead of earth – they come out nearly clean as a whistle.

  3. Daily Spud

    jenn: it’s great if you have the space to do it – I have a decent size of garden, so the spuds get pride of place!

    Katrina: thanks so much for dropping in – hope you’ll be back for the movie premiere! I’ve never tried planting in straw but I like that idea…

  4. greg

    That was amystery. At least it’s solved. There is nothing more frustrating than mysterious circumstances in your own (secure???) home!

    Tatse aside, I bet overwinter potatoes are a delight because they arrive unexpected and special.

  5. manuel

    I have no space for planting in the ground but am considering planting some in a bucket a la jamie oliver……have you tried this? any thoughts…

  6. Jenni

    My first thought was that the Russian Mob was somehow involved. I’m not sure that Nicole would be up for this–you need to be played by a stronger heroine. I know you didn’t cry or anything–but we need to find the Star who can make her lower lip quiver just a little. I’m sure she’s out there. Glad your three guys are more or less where they belong.

    It was very kind of you–and it showed great restraint–to take a picture of your hide and seek potatoes before eating. Well done. If it were me, I would’ve shoved them in my face and then found a close Facsimile on flickr. Thank God you have more self-control than I have!

  7. Angry Brit

    You are a total inspiration for me to try growing something, anything! My streak of vegicide must end at some point, right? Right?

  8. Chef E

    I panicked while reading, imagine if I had been driving and reading! You make me want to get my hands dirty! Hopefully the kids and I will have a garden going soon, so we can use ingredients for the meals!

    You should come over to my TMI post and read my Ireland and Cadbury post…good for a laugh!

    Spuds look delish as always!

    Also, a bit late, but I got your care package ready…had some hunting to do, so I could send you a variety of things…but do not let the customs on to us :)

  9. Heather

    mmm. those potatoes look yummy!

  10. Tangled Noodle

    Only the audience will see the scene in which I, played by Lucy Liu, had previously snuck into your shed, intending to abscond with your precious tubers and replace them with Filipino Potatoes. I’m foiled only by the overwhelming scent of year-old manure wafting from your prepped plot. 8-) Actually, I know it’s not that malodorous but dramatic license is necessary to move the storyline along.

    The stragglers look wonderful, glistening with Kerrygold and festooned with dill!

  11. Reeni

    I was feeling bummed out for a moment! I’m so happy that you located those treasures! I remember one time when I was a kid discovering potatoes and carrots in the Spring from the summer before that were still edible in my Mom’s garden. We hopped and hooted for joy like it was the best thing ever. I bet you thoroughly enjoyed those taters.

  12. OysterCulture

    Wow, starting off a Monday with a potato caper – nothing like it. I wait with baited breath for your posts 10 weeks from now as we learn the fate of these precious tubers.

    The Sharpe’s Express look delish dress in dill and Kerrygold.

  13. The Duo Dishes

    We’d have to get a pot in order to do any sort of gardening/planting. No fields of dirt near us. How nice would it be to pull out potatoes of our own and slather them with butter and dill like you did!

  14. Daily Spud

    greg: It’s always good to get to the bottom of a mystery – nobody likes to be left hanging! And, yes, the over-wintered spuds were precisely that – unexpected and extra special because of it.

    manuel: haven’t tried planting in a bucket or barrel, but it’s pretty commonly done; just need to make sure they get plenty of watering and, as the shoots start to emerge, keep covering them up with more compost, which enourages more tubers to develop

    Jenni: the Russian Mob you think? I must revisit the crime scene and check for those telltale bottles of vodka, comrade

    Angry Brit: you can do it girl, yes you can!

    Chef E: it would be great to get a garden going with your students! and really looking forward to the arrival of your care package (and I won’t mention a word – bad enough to have the Mob on my case without Customs getting in on the act too, lol!)

    Heather: thanks, they were :)

    Lucy Noodle: I’m just disappointed that you didn’t stick around for dinner! next time, ok?

    Reeni: oh I did thoroughly enjoy them – such a treat!

    OysterCulture: I should be just in time for the summer blockbuster market with “potato heist 2, the sequel”! :)

    Dup Dishes: it is so very nice :) and, as mentioned to manuel above, you can gow spuds in a bucket, so it’s something to keep in mind, even if you don’t have any garden space…

  15. manuel

    okie dokie…

  16. kickpleat

    Oooh, I so want some land so I can start my own potato plot.

  17. The Diva on a Diet

    Oooh, there is nothing like a fresh from the garden potato! My bro grows them in his garden every year and last year was a bumper crop. He also had some very late stragglers from the year before … and you’re right, they were just as good.

    Your photo has me drooling by the way. Its outrageous! :)

  18. Daily Spud

    manuel: any questions, just give me a shout

    kickpleat: one of the things I love about my house is that it has a little bit of ground so that I can do exactly that…

    Diva: yep, straight from the garden beats all :) Now, best stop that drooling!

  19. Sapuche

    Reading about a possible potato heist, I was on the edge of my seat with my nose pressed against the screen. But at that point I could no longer read, so I sat back and finished your post. My Japanese father-in-law twice had a stash of eggplant stolen from a plot he rented to plant them in. I thought maybe the same thieves had struck your shed — garden yakuza! — but then you found your missing tubers. I can’t wait to hear about what comes from your garden in 10 more weeks! Oh, and lovely photos!

  20. Rachel@fairycakeheaven

    ooo it’s all about the potatoes! Dying to hear how you get on!

  21. Navita

    Hey just posted a comment…but something happened….
    anyways I said I loved reading you….your garden anxiety….i share the same. But I must say its fulfilling to see ur seeds tear earth and grow…just brought a few flower saplings and all spice plants last week for my garden.

  22. gastroanthropologist

    I love this time of year! Many months of culitvating and building excitment for harvests to come.

    I can imagine how you felt when your little seedlings were missing…I lost some heirloom tomato seeds once and lost my appetite for a week. I never found mine though…

  23. Will

    How much space do you need to grow potatoes? What kind of seeds to you recommend? Gardening is new to me, but something about digging a spud out of the ground, it in itself and entire meal, seems incredibly rewarding on a very personal level.


  24. Iisha

    I soooo appreciate the benefit of the photo, but DAMN YOU for not add “smell-o-vision” or some kind of ‘tasting thingy’ so I could have enjoyed them with you.

    And you call yourself a friend.

  25. Daily Spud

    gastroanthropologist: it’s one of my favourite times of year too – and I can imagine exactly how you felt about losing those heirloom tomato seeds, I would be gutted myself

    Will: it is rewarding, that’s for sure. If you have a garden plot, you can plant rows of seed potatoes, about 10-12 inches between each seed in the row and about 24 inches between rows. You can also grow spuds in a large bucket or barrel if you’re short on garden real estate. As for type of seeds – here, at least, seed potatoes are classified as early, second early or maincrop. For small scale growing, it’s best to go for an early variety as they are fastest to mature (around 10 weeks or so from planting a seed potato to having spuds of your own).

    lisha: I’m working on the smell-o-vision, honest – as soon as it’s perfected, you’ll be the first to know, promise!

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