Fourth of July found ProfessorRoush out digging up some early potatoes. I only planted 10 potato halves this year, to provide just a hill or two of taste at a time, and Mrs. ProfessorRoush wanted fresh sweet corn and new potatoes for a 4th of July dinner. I could provide the potatoes, but since I had planned a corn-less garden year, the nearby market had to provide the corn. Anyway, two plants worth of potatoes later, we had a nice mess of fresh potatoes to eat.
Yes, I planted only blue potatoes this year. I'm tired of 'Red Norland' and 'Yukon Gold' around here. Blue potatoes are supposed to be "healthier" if you listen to all the hype, but I suspect they're just another potato, a little more starchy and gimmicky than most. I didn't know until recently that there were different varieties of blue potatoes, from heirlooms to 'Royal Blue' to 'Adirondack Blue', the latter bred and released by a trio of provessors from Cornell University in 2003. The things you learn while blogging; because it retains color when cooked, the 'Adirondack Blue' variety is used by the Penn State Alumni to sell potato chips in the Penn State colors. You would think that Cornell wouldn't allow that, Ivy League rivalries being what they are. Maybe the 'Adirondack Blue' variety is secretly bred to decrease the testosterone of rival football players. Never put anything past a University professor.
ProfessorRoush knew that it was dry around here, since every lawn-mowing this summer is essentially a dust storm where I come back in looking, as my daughter said, like I "work in a coal mine." The lack of serious rain since last Fall has been obvious in the sparse bloom and winter-kill of many plants this spring and summer. But the garden soil, when I planted this spring, had been moist and workable enough and I had watered these potatoes regularly when they were young. Digging them out now, however presented me with a different story. The ground is rock hard, essentially concrete sans gravel. On the right is one of the holes I dug, complete with a few potatoes that I haven't yet picked up at the top of the photo. There are monstrous solid dry clods that the fork can't pry loose without extra effort. Thankfully, I've got soaker hoses running to the tomatoes and melons, but this dirt caused me to give all the shrubs and roses a good deep soaking this Sunday morning. Three and a half hours later, I think it will all might just survive another week. A week that is forecast in the high 90ºF's and 100ºF's with no rain in the next 10 days. We probably won't see rain again until September, so this morning's hand-watering will be likely repeated weekly for awhile. So much for weekend rest.