Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Potato Harvest

You could guess all day and I bet you wouldn’t be able to guess what kind of potatoes these are. The first post I did on this blog was about a plant called Potato Dandelion, Krigia dandelion. I thought it appropriate that my 100th post should be on the same subject. This is a close up view of the tiny tubers of the Potato Dandelion, a rarity in Ohio and one of my favorite plants.

I grow a lot of wild plants in controlled conditions, so I can learn about their growth habits. This is my pot of Potato Dandelions. The plants went dormant in June and as would happen on a natural site, other vegetation has taken over. Notice the rusty chicken wire protecting the pot. Potato Dandelions are tasty to any animal that eats plants and the only way to cultivate them is under maximum security conditions.

Here’s the pot with the vegetation cut back. I’ve been growing Potato Dandelions in this pot for many years. Every two years I’ll dig out the top few inches of soil and filter out the tubers. I’ll plant seven tubers back into the pot and the label says that was last done on 8-4-07.

Here are the tubers produced over that two year period. Quite a bit of production out of a plant that’s so rare. With a growth rate like that, this plant ought to be all over the place.

Here are the seven lucky tubers going back into the pot. The rest of the tubers have been put into a larger pot and what develops there will be planted next year into an outdoor bed for close observation. By the look of the emerging sprouts, I almost waited too long to dig these.

Here are the seven, ready to be covered up. This is just as things looked two years ago. By November there will be many small plants showing. By next May, there will be a hundred or more plants.

Covered with soil and topped with a light mulch of crushed maple leaves, everything’s ready to go. I, like most people, keep a large box of dried maple leaves for use in situations like this. Sorry, someone reading over my shoulder pointed out that normal people DO NOT store boxes of dried leaves from year to year. How odd.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! I went back to the May post to see what the flower looks like--yep, a dandelion--and very pretty!