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.
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.