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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | May 4, 2012

There is standard time. There is daylight savings time. And there is potato time.

As far as I am concerned, potato time is any time. Potatoes are welcome at breakfast, lunch and supper. To improve any meal, just serve some potatoes with it in any form – mashed, fried, baked, hash browns or even in a bag of chips.

Last week I could see it was another kind of potato time. The seed potatoes, sitting in their white paper bags in my garage were letting me know it was time to plant them.

In fact, they had gotten impatient and taken matters into their hands, er, uh, eyes. They were showing their green sprouts while still in the bag. They were on their way, soil or no soil.

We cannot have that because good soil and water will eventually be needed and it was my job to finish what the potatoes had started.

We have moved two miles away from where we had raised the previous year’s potato crops. We need a new potato patch in our new location.

Last summer I saw an area at our new site where the soil was extra black with a slight tilt to it so it would drain easily. Even last summer I had my new potato patch picked out for this year.

It took a new battery for the tractor that runs the tiller and then a drive belt on the tiller had to be replaced, but last Friday afternoon I stirred up what been a grassy patch of weeds for many years for my new potato garden.

It was about two weeks later than we usually plant them but we had about three inches of rain that we did not have two weeks ago. I do not see any major problems.

My wife cut the potatoes into sections while I used a shovel to create four trenches.

We had red potatoes and Kennebecs, two rows of each.

I dropped the potato sections into the trenches and when finished, I counted 113 potatoes ready to be covered. For those of you keeping score, the final score was red – 55 and Kennebec – 58.

Before covering the potatoes, I asked my wife if we should give the potatoes a blessing. She thought that would be a good idea so I said, “May these potatoes grow to be mashed, fried, baked, and hash browned.” My wife added, “And lefse.”

Once the potatoes were covered, I sprinkled a granular mixture that according to the label was fertilizer and “weed preventer.”

Just what is weed preventer? Was herbicide too hard for them to spell?

Maybe it was not herbicide. After all, they said it was a “preventer.”

Every farmer knows if something is good, more is better. I put it on thicker than they recommended according to their picture on the label. We will call it “extra preventer” or how about “enhanced preventer” or “preventer plus?” “Preventer max?”

Once the potatoes were in the ground and covered, the fertilizer and “weed preventer” applied, and the tools were put away, we came inside to refresh ourselves at the kitchen table. I looked out the window to see raindrops on the glass.

We have had over an inch of rain since then.

We finished just in time. Well, what did you expect? After all, it was potato time.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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