This has been a good year for dry land farming—it helps, of course, when you get as much rain as we did this last summer—over twice the normal rainfall. But more moisture doesn’t guarantee a good crop. My produce manager, Charley, worked some long hours keeping our dry land vegetables free of pests and weeds. Our potato harvest, in particular, has seen enormous success thanks to Charley’s hard work and that extra few inches of rain.
Comparing our dry land potatoes this year to last year is like night and day. Last year we fought a drought and hail as well as a horrible pest problem and out-of-control weeds. When it came time to harvest, we were only getting about a half a pound of potatoes per plant. When the average is generally three times that amount, it made for a disappointing season.
This year Charley has kept a close eye out for pests, spent long hours pulling weeds, and thankfully the weather has been far more agreeable than it was last year. And boy, has it paid off! Charley has reported harvesting around three pounds per plant. Twice our usual average!
We still have about half our potato plants left to harvest. With our recent hard freeze and snow storm, which killed all the longer season plants that were still green, now we must get the rest of the potatoes harvested before they freeze. Since these are just the beginning of the first freezes, there is still a lot of heat in the ground. But that will not last long if we start to have days with highs temperatures in the 30s and low temperatures in the 20s.
Charley and I are so excited to see such an excellent harvest this year and look forward to enjoying this year’s crop of potatoes from now until next July, as they will store very well in our root cellar until then.