Saturday, July 2, 2016

Picking Up Potatoes

Yesterday was July 1st, and that meant it was time to harvest the potatoes.  They were not all mature, but if we had waited much longer, the potatoes would get too hot, or literally bake,  in the soil.

Our potato crop consisted of a 4x8 raised bed.  You can see the vines were ready...

A few potatoes had a little sunburn.  I'm guessing last week's rain washed the soil covering them away.

The soil is friable enough that we were able to collect most of them with our hands.  It was a hot day, however, and Hub resorted to the shovel before we were finished.

Of course, this reminded me of those hot July days of my childhood when we harvested potatoes.  My parents planted a hundred acres; no. wait, it just seemed like a hundred acres when we started picking them up. There was a lot of them, though.  Daddy used his mule and a middle-buster. (Not sure that is the proper name; it was a type of turning plow.)  It was fun for the first minute or so, watching that pointed piece of iron slice through Tennessee clay and all those potatoes coming to the surface.  We got our half-bushel tubs and started picking them up.  No records were kept, but I'm pretty sure we picked up at least a ton of potatoes. We bent to our task not for the thrill of it, but because we would get our butts busted if we didn't.  We picked them up and thought about the icy, syrupy-sweet Kool-aid that awaited us when we were done.  

Just when we thought the last potato had been collected, Daddy would plow through those rows again,  There was a lot more potatoes to pick up, but not as many as the first time, and we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Every time it rained afterwards, Mama would see a few that we had missed, but we just left them.  After all, we already had a ton of potatoes. 

We didn't collect a ton of potatoes yesterday, but we did get almost ten gallons, which will make a lot of hash browns and mashed potatoes.  Not bad for a 4X8 bed of soil and gin trash.