I feel dead chuffed with myself actually. Because last year I grew my own. Notwithstanding they are nearly my favourite vegetable to eat, I also discovered they are very good for the soil. And as we had not long moved into an old farmhouse with a large garden that had been left to overrun, it seemed the ideal veg to start trying to grow myself. I had very little experience up to this point. Just failed attempts at runner beans and tomato growing. But without any serious plan or strategy in mind, just to try to regenerate the soil in the garden, I went to work.
I thought I could just stick them in the ground like any other vegetable. My husband however said no, you have to dig trenches. With a combined effort from me, husband, friend and 3 small children, who proved to be very enthusiastic diggers, we dug 5 said trenches. I also discovered that the soil you dig up has to be kept to ‘bank up’ the leaves as they begin to grow up. Painstakingly I would scoop up mounds of earth as the leaves grew into branches and needed kind of propping up so they wouldn’t fall down. To the uninitiated, like me, this is what ‘banking up’ is.
I was a bit concerned as white flowers appeared. I thought this might be a sign they had got diseased down there in the depths of the ground. Anxiously I informed my Mum, a fount of all knowledge and wisdom when it comes to gardening. She said, ‘Well now you can dig them up.’ Easier said than done I found. Some potatoes were sliced in two or completely disintegrated when levering them up, some I just couldn’t find because they were buried so deep. But nonetheless there were enough survived to have a regular stream of very tasty white potatoes throughout the summer and into the beginning of autumn. And it felt great. A first. Our own home-grown potatoes, dug from our soil. Much tastier and loads more satisfying.