Tuber Time!

Hello Folks!

For the last few weeks one of our regular tasks has been hilling potatoes. Its a bit arduous, but mounding up soil on the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of the plant gives the precious tubers more room to grow and keeps them from that most treacherous of substances, sunlight, which can turn them green and give folks a tummy ache. In searching the internet to make sure that my hilling technique was good (it is!) I found a few interesting facts about taters. My favorite was that after it was brought to Europe from its native South America, many were afraid of this vegetable. The French thought that they caused leprosy and resident’s of colonial Massachusetts thought they were left by witches. The fear of spuds reached its height in 18th century russia, where peasants referred to them as Devil’s Apples. The Irish were the first in the region to overcome their fear and take it up on a large scale, but we all know how that ended up. The potato late blight disease, caused by the fungus phytoptera infestans, wiped out the entire potato crop of 1845 and changed the course of history. The biggest cause of the Irish Potato Famine though, was the over-reliance on one crop, a potato mono-culture. In fact, it was this incident that lead to the popular phrase, “don’t put all your devil’s apples in one basket.” Or something like that.

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