Where’s your Irish Pride?

Everyone is telling us that there’s no point in growing spuds here.  And I mean EVERYONE.

Irish Eddie, who’s been living here since long before Peter Mayle made it fashionable, is a seasoned potager cultivator, along with his wife, French Áine, who’s big into permaculture and all things organic.  Eddie, being Irish, missed the typical floury spuds that graced the Ballyvolane table back in the day, so he tried to grow them.  And tried and tried and tried.  The Colorado Beetle was his biggest enemy and, eventually, he gave up.

Welsh Daithí is, like myself, a veteran of vegetable growing on the British Isles.  His house is perched on the bony skeleton of a nearby mountain.  Barely enough soil to grow lichen on… he made some raised beds, filled them with the best organic compost he could buy, and planted his seed potatoes.  He had the healthiest, most beautiful potato plants he had ever seen.  They sprouted, grew to impressive proportions, flowered and died back, all on schedule,  The day came to harvest his crop.  He dug in with bated breath….

One potato.  About the size of a glassialley (large marble).  He’d have been better off eating the seed potatoes.

Long-time blog follower The Horse Mad Scientist told me her tale of potato cultivation in an area that seems to have a climate similar to ours.  Copying from the comments section of We’re Growing Pot :

I tried growing “German Butterball” potatoes the last two years, in pots (plastic). I did everything I was told to…lots of c, thoroughly composted manure (which, I learned, is what gives the skins a wrinkly texture), good soil, I hilled them up to the undersides of the first set of leaves, kept them watered and babied them unbelievably. The result? Well…lots and LOTS of teeny little potatoes. The largest ones, with one gigantic exception, were no more than the size of your curled palm. The rest were the size of a small marble. You really can’t do much with that.
The giant sized one was enormous. Spread your fingers out wide like you were going to hold a big rock, and put them finger tip to finger tip with a gap of about an inch…and that was the size of it. But, when I cut it open it had ‘”hollow heart”. It was hollow on the inside. In fact, the interior hollowed part had exterior skin growing on the surface…so it was growing outside in. It too was fairly worthless.
So I’ve given up on potatoes. Good luck, though!

French Seoirse has been cultivating his potager for years and years.  I offered him the remainder of my seed potatoes.  Non non non non… he could not get the ‘nons’ out fast enough.  He laughed at my notion of growing potatoes down here.  It’s not the right climate.  Or the terrain, apparently.

But they grow potatoes in the Israeli desert and in lots of other non-temperate regions of the world.  So I’m giving it a shot.

The pride of Ireland as a potato growing nation rests upon these puny (albeit Dutch) shoulders.

Variety Bintje. The least waxy potato we have managed to find here.


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