Have you noticed that your potatoes are full of blemishes? A few years ago when I first noticed it, I thought it was just a bad potato year. Then I thought maybe it was the excessive rain we had another year, and I wondered about disease. I kept thinking that “next year they’ll be good again.” I’m not even talking about potatoes from my garden. These are the No. 1 potatoes that I buy in the store. For several years now the potatoes have had blue bruising. It’s not getting better. On the contrary, it’s as bad as it has ever been.
I thought it might be our local Vancouver Island potatoes and started buying potatoes from eastern Canada and from the U. S., but the problem seems to be everywhere.
I wonder, if I’d been one of the starving Irish in the years of the potato famine (1845 – 1849), how much of the bad (blighted) potato I would have cut away. I suppose it would depend on how hungry I was.
Do you have potatoes like this in your area? What do you think is going on?
On Protection Island, near Nanaimo, BC, my visit continued with my friend acting as tour guide. Here is a community garden where residents can maintain a raised bed or contribute in other ways to the island’s garden project.
Can you see the glimpse of ocean through the trees? Now imagine that fresh sea air warmed by the sun. The garden is surrounded by trees that keep the humidity hovering over the fruit and vegetables grown here.
Two special things got my attention:
- The potato plants in the two boxes at the front of the picture. In the ample loose soil in those boxes, the roots of the plants are able to produce more potatoes.
- The huge cage to the left is like a bird cage in reverse. It it meant to keep the birds out and the raspberries and strawberries in. What a great idea! So much better than netting that can tangle the birds’ feet.
The garden is well looked after and is producing abundantly already. Outside the garden is a “Help Yourself” table where gardeners can share produce. Sometimes a person can only eat so many tomatoes or whatever vegetable has suddenly become prolific. It’s great to share.
A full moon in the autumn of the year can have many names (full moon, hunter’s moon, and others), but my favourite is “harvest moon.” Something in that name appeals to the farmer/gardener in me.
I have always loved the feeling of bringing something in from the garden (besides the dirt on my boots), whether it’s fruit or vegetables I grew, or a few eggs my chickens laid, or some blackberries that grew wild in the backyard. It’s the same feeling I get when I find mushrooms in the woods, or catch a trout for supper.
I think I would have been a good pioneer, but I’m thankful that I don’t have the hard life they had. It’s much easier to enjoy my modern-day hobby gardening and then sit back in my comfortable home and be content.
Here is the kind of meal I appreciate: squash, carrots, potatoes, and chard from my garden, and a lovely trout given to me by a friend. This meal was enjoyed out on the patio near the end of summer.
May we always remember how fortunate we are, give thanks, and help others.