Delicious Volunteers

First of the season fingerling potatoes are pulled from the ground.The first bush of fingerling potatoes has been dug up.

You may recall that these are the potatoes that I did not plant this spring. These are the volunteer plants that came up from the potatoes that were not completely dug up last year. I blame the digger (me) for not paying attention when harvesting the crop last year.

But there were a few extenuating circumstances.

First, these were free potatoes. Last year on Father’s Day Weekend we visited a feed store for Ugly Tie Days. It’s a promotion where you turn in an ugly tie and get a $5. gift certificate. Before you fall off your chair laughing, remember I just love a good deal.

We purchased a few things and spent way more than the $5. certificate and was headed out the door to leave. Near the front door was a bushel basket with a sign that said FREE. It was the very last of the fingerling potato sets. I almost walked right past, it was really late in the season to even start potatoes, and these looked terrible. They were shriveled up dregs of real potatoes. I glanced at the sign again and thought what the heck, I had a spot in the garden that needed something planted and just hadn’t gotten around to that space yet.

I planted the spuds as soon as I got home. I didn’t bother cutting them down to ‘eyes’. I didn’t even think they would grow. Boy was I wrong. Not only were they prolific, they were delicious!

I dug potatoes for many, many meals. I begged neighbors to please take a bag full of potatoes, I even delivered a few. Visitors were given potatoes as parting gifts. I took pounds and pounds to the Senior Center in town. It was getting late in the season and I still had hills to dig.

We had a hard freeze set in and the top couple inches of dirt froze solid. I thought for sure that I had killed off the remaining potatoes. Two weeks after the cold, I checked on one of the hills and the topmost potatoes were mush.

I called them squirt potatoes. When I picked them up they would squirt potatoes juice at me. Surprisingly, under the squirt potatoes, I found solid potatoes and continued to harvest well into December.

Consequently, I must have missed some viable potatoes because this spring I kept getting volunteers popping up. They are scattered through the corn patch and around the squash. I just didn’t have the heart to pull them as I did the weeds.

My FREE deal just keeps on giving.


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