The Idiot Gardener

WARNING: This site contains information on gardening, brewing, curing meat,

building shit and hunting, all done in a piss-poor manner. It is not suitable for the

feeble-minded, the weak and lame, those of a nervous disposition, vegans and

vegetarians (and those other ones that only eat fish and the occasional bacon

sandwich - I think they're called 'hypocrites'), those who practice any

manner of folk singing or dancing, people named Colin or fans of Barry Gibb.

Potato Apathy

I have fallen out of love with the potato. There, I’ve said it. This doesn’t feel like a temporary split, a trial separation. No. It feels like a divorce. It has a degree of finality about it. Here’s the funny thing. I think gardening has killed the love.

Last year, when everyone was banging on about the wettest summer in history ever, even when the country of England (and the other bits we lease out) was under the oceans, my potatoes were pretty miserable. I got a few decent ones, but most of them rotted. I was as disappointed as a young lad who went to see dwarf strippers and found out that they were male! And ugly!

At the start of this year I went to a potato day, and to be honest I got a bit giddy. I bought too many, and a wide range of varieties too. I ended up with Jersey Royals, Golden Wonder, Edzell Blues, Edgecote Purples, Kerrs Pinks, Blue Belles, Estima, Belle de Fontenay, Wilja, Carlingford, Witchill, Ratte, Remarka, Pentland Hawks and Maris Bards! I was excited for 2013, so excited that I formed the Potato Premier League to allow them to battle through the summer for the title of grand champion.

They started off slowly, and to be honest never really got going. Both in the garden and in the field, the foliage was subdued, the growth was minimal, and they just sort of … didn’t do much. When I lifted the first of the first earlies, they were tiny and somewhat scabby. A few others reported similar results. I left them. After all, I had salad to eat and other stuff going on, plus my digging was curtailed by the knee operation.

Since then, I have skirted around the potatoes. To be honest, I can’t be arsed with them. They didn’t grow properly, so I couldn’t be bothered to dig them up. I did have one dig around in a moment of guilt, but they were so small and scabby that I gave up. Now we are getting into that ‘mash’ time of year I am having mashed squash and parsnips. The two go together really well. The potatoes are still out there, unwanted and unloved. I haven’t eaten one for ages.

The other day I found myself out at a business lunch, and what was on the menu but calves liver with potato mash. For a moment I got excited. Maybe what I needed was a feed of potatoes to remind me just how good they were. This would put me back on the right track for 2014.

They were – when compared to mashed squash and parsnips – inferior. I didn’t eat them. I couldn’t be bothered.

So I am looking down the barrels of a potatoless 2014. The space I free up will be used by an onion experiment.

I might regret it, or I might crack and dash out to a potato day before January is over, but my feeling is that the spud and I are through. Except for a few Jersey Royals. Maybe.

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6 thoughts on “Potato Apathy

  1. Sharon Longworth

    Nooooo. Life without potatoes isn’t really life. No chips, no roasties, no sauted circles of wonder?

    That said, ours were rubbish this year too, and half of them are still in the ground, but they do make the soil luvverly 🙂

  2. Tom Gowans

    Man, I remember that post of yours, IG, when you went nuts and bought every known potato variety!

    I like mash but always mix potatoes with sweet potatoes and butternut.

    Build yourself a small gauge spud gun and shoot them over the field, at least you would get some joy out of them!

  3. Is

    Seems Baby Jesus lulled you into a false sense of security and blighted your spuds instead of the tomatoes. Up here we had 3-4lb per plant, less for the King Edwards but they made up for it in flavour.Your squash & parsnip mash sounds good but my squash were as pathetic as your spuds.
    Biggest hit of the year were Sweet Candle carrots and a bumper crop of strawbs. Roll on next year!

  4. Kyna

    Your website looks so different from what it did in the beginning. You’re all classy and sophisticated now, instead of the punk rebel I once knew you as!

    I think you should give the potato a second chance xx

  5. Mr Fitz

    This christmas.. dont give “PEAS” a chance.. ahem.. give spuds another go.. you gotta.. just gotta… maybe the potato gods were angered by your growing of heaps of varieties in one area of the world? Do the right thing… Give the humble (although true king) spud another pop…


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