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Spud Sunday: Heart of Spudness

Attn: All Spuds
c/o Central Vegetable Patch, Back Garden

Sorry spuds. Mea culpa. I thought I was doing you a favour but, in fact, I was giving you too much of a good thing. Nitrogen, I mean. An essential nutrient, yes, but too much of the stuff and you were all about the above-ground show of foliage, with nary a thought for the tuberage down below. No, you were not to blame for the low yields and I, for my part, will know better next time.

It’s true. The foliage for my assorted potato crops had gone quite rampant. Way bigger than normal. I should have known something was up when the overly enthusiastic potato plants went barging into the unsuspecting peas and beans, which I thought I had planted at a reasonable distance. The spuds, it seems, were on a bit of a nitrogen high. While they had been given a normal dose of manure upon planting, the entire plot had already been generously treated with manure the year before, in preparation for its vegetable debut. With that double dosage, I had managed to push my spudlings over the nitrogen edge. Yes, my hand is up. I was responsible for the garden equivalent of killing my spuds with kindness.

Not to worry, though, I will live and I will learn. I would also add that, while my potato crop is lacking in yield, it is not lacking in interest.

Heart-shaped Shetland Black Potato

The Purple Heart of Spudness

As I unearthed the first of the Shetland Blacks, I was rewarded, for my trouble, with my very own, home-grown purple heart, as if to acknowledge the wounds of bloody garden warfare. I was also rewarded with the fact that the Shetland Blacks, though small in number and particularly small in size, were tasty little spuds nonetheless. A lovely layer of purple just under the skin and a little ring of purple inside. Floury, with thick-ish, chewy skin and best baked or roasted. Lovely with some butter and salt and almost enough to make you forget about the garden traumas you’ve survived to get them there.

Inside the Shetland Black

Inside the Shetland Black


  1. OysterCulture

    ahhh, the purple heart. What a beauty and there is definitely a message there for you. The Shetland Black is very intriguing, I expected the interior to be dark as night, but just the opposite, similar to the purple ones we consumed with relish at La Mar. I look forward to seeing what creative developments await these fellas.

    As to killing with kindness, at least you found out before it was too late. I’ve killed far too many of my green friends with kindness, only to swear foully at them in their dying days for leaving me. I never understood, how one day they looked so good, and the next it was a vicious downward spiral from which there was no way out.

  2. jenn

    Awww….I like that. A purple heart. That’s the first I’ve seen a spud shaped like that. It must be a sign. hehe…

  3. Jenni

    I was just commenting to Tangled Noodle earlier that it’s our less-than-successes that are the most instructive. You, my friend, have taught us all about the Perils of Over-manuring, and none of us will ever make that mistake again.

    Love the purple heart; you’ve earned it!

  4. noble pig

    That potato is awesome.

  5. SippitySup

    THere are just too many metaphors here. My tongue could swerve off in a million witty directions. But in truth, you deserve potato love, even if it’s a purple heart. GREG

  6. Daily Spud

    OysterCulture: ah yes, I guess there is a lot to know about what goes on in nature and how we can be more of a hindrance than a help sometimes!

    jenn: oh, a sign of something I’m sure :)

    Jenni: indeed, more often than not there are valuable lessons to be gleaned from our less-than-successes and now I feel another blog post coming on…

    noble pig: you’d have to say it was a pretty special spud!

    SippitySup: aw, gee, thanks – makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside :)

  7. Reeni

    The spuds love you just as much as you love them!

  8. Tangled Noodle

    It sounds as if too much nitrogen for potatoes is like too many steroids for the bodybuilder – huge on top, teeny-tiny down below.

    The Shetlands Blacks speak for the rest of your spuds and us – your heart has always been in the right place!

  9. Sophie

    I so heart purple potatoes!! I love to eat them!!
    A beautiful purple heart!

  10. Jackie at PhamFatale.com

    Awww this heart-shaped potato is so adorable. It’s a sign.

  11. gastroanthropologist

    I’ve never been a successful potato farmer and no garden for me this year, but I must keep too much nitrogen in mind when I move back home. I’ve always yielded one or two little rocks. Your shetland black looks amazing. And what a lovely heart you have.

  12. Daily Spud

    Reeni: I’m blushing now :)

    Tangled Noodle: ah, I love the body builder analogy – Spuds on Steroids could be the basis for a whole new mini-series!

    Sophie: whatever else I might say about them, it was pretty cool to grow some different-coloured spuds

    Jackie: well, I couldn’t just let that spud go without taking a picture and sharing its heart-shaped cuteness!

    gastroanthropologist: thanks :) it’s funny, other years when I’ve grown potatoes, they’ve been more successful (yieldwise) and I think I had the mental attitude that it was difficult to fail with spuds, but I’ve certainly learned a few things this year…

  13. Chef E

    I thought about you, first things first email me your address again, I cannot find it since I changed to a new lap top, no excuses you are getting that package…the other thing is I was thinking about you while at a potato farm in Long Island, and at the vodka factory…now I want to make it :) Call me crazy, we Irish are like that :), but I saw for the first time how they plant and grow them, and along side rye, was really cool!

    Your purple heart is beautiful!

  14. Daily Spud

    Thanks! And now I’m looking forward to hearing all about the potato farm and the vodka factory :)

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