Potato Baby Jesus?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day Potato Surprise From the Bird Back 40
Every once in a great while while working in the garden -- the wife that is Venus will utter a line that makes the perfect title for a gardening post like this one. It's the line that she shouted out after digging this monster potato out of the garden on Christmas Day -- a complete and total surprise I might add. We didn't pick Christmas Day as the day to harvest potatoes. No -- that mistake is on me -- yours truly. I'm the husband who forgot to purchase a five pound sack of spuds during our many shopping trips to prepare for the big day.

As soon as she uttered the line, I responded with the following: "that's perfect for the blog. I'm STEALING it." But the wife -- a devout Catholic -- suddenly had second thoughts lest the title offend someone. "How about calling it Potato Santa Claus instead," she questioned.

Nope -- Potato Baby Jesus was just too good to pass.

This monster potato, which snapped into two pieces as we dug it out of the soil, weighed in at a solid 2 lbs. It is one of the largest potatoes we have ever dug out of the backyard, and came as a shock and surprise to the both of us.

Frost and Potato Plants Do Not Mix
We weren't expecting anything this large -- especially since a week or two of winter frost in the morning had essentially laid waste to the potato plants in the backyard. Much to my chagrin, the frost also destroyed a growth spurt on one of two Meyer Lemon trees in the Bird Back 40. Why the Meyer Lemon suddenly chose late fall to suddenly bolt with a flurry of new branch growth and blossom set, I'll never know. I prayed and hoped the new growth would survive the onset of winter, but prepared for the worst.

The worst was revealed on Christmas Day after digging up a surprise monster of a potato. Despite covering the tree with Christmas lights (lights that generate heat I might add -- because some do not) -- the frosty conditions prevailed. Most of the new, purple colored, branch growth that I'd witnessed in recent weeks had turned black. That's never a good sign.


As for the potato harvest party on Christmas Day? That was also a surprise! It was necessitated when Venus discovered her dolt of a husband had forgotten to purchase a 5 lb. sack of spuds for holiday meals. Her response? "I guess we're digging for Christmas dinner then."

Christmas Day Potato Harvest
I didn't have much hope to be honest. We were a tad late on planting fall crops like potatoes this year. While some plants had sprung up in the bed we used for our very successful potato harvest last spring, the plants never did get a chance to flower and die back as they do naturally during the spring planting. 10-15 days of solid frost turned a once leafy and nice looking bed into something rather barren and dead looking.

I wasn't all that encouraged. Until -- that is -- Venus and I unearthed a monster of spud that we were not expecting.

The haul in the basket picture above came from digging up a small portion of the bed -- no more than one or two plants. We know there's a lot more where this came from, and perhaps another monster or two to uncover.

As for Christmas Day dishes -- the potato haul made for a nice breakfast in the form of hash browns. This a must have before the chore of ripping open Christmas presents. That evening, the wife that is Venus Productions concocted her famous roasted potato dish, featuring fresh rosemary from the garden, sea salt, pepper and olive oil (plus a few other secret seasonings).

This was a nice, and rather unexpected, gift from the garden on Christmas Day.