by Stefani on 22-February-2010

Seed Potatoes

One of the most vivid memories I have of my great grandmother is kneeling at her side on a summer day as she showed me how to excavate potatoes. I remember the smell of the earth, the softness of it, and the complete surprise I felt at discovering that real food had been hiding under the dirt all the time.

I remember how she cut them into long fat strips and fried them in a cast iron skillet. I remember how hard she laughed when I declared, “They’re even better than Ore Ida!”

I remember too hearing her say that those potatoes had been planted on Valentine’s Day. It’s what was done. In our neck of the woods, the day of love was also the day for planting ‘taters!

It seemed strange to me then, that people would spend their time thinking about dirt and potatoes instead of chocolate hearts and lacy cards on Valentine’s Day, but it makes more sense to me now. What says love, real love, more than working together toward a common goal, appreciating the little square of land thats all yours, and laying in your hopes for happy, well-fed tomorrows together? I kind of think that planting might be the perfect way to declare familial love. Don’t you?

We missed Valentine’s Day by a long shot when we planted Granny’s birthday garden last year, but we resolved, then and there, that we’d do better this year. And oh did we ever! We still didn’t quite land on the right day, but we got a whole lot closer, and that’s progress, right?

Granny's Garden

We took a little road trip last week to reacquaint ourselves with the woods, to soak in the company of our favorite granny, and to get some dirt under our nails.

We passed miles and miles of dark bare fields on our way, many of them being plowed up and turned over by determined farmers in their blue tractors. We sat around Granny’s table and caught up on family news while we cut the eyes from seed potatoes. We put our backs into it, hoed the rows and dug the holes.

Planting Potatoes

We were, as always, so sad to say goodbye when our visit was done.

As ridiculous as it sounds though, it makes us all smile, even now, so far away, to know that there are potatoes hiding underground, reaching for a new spring, and that in just a few weeks it will be time to plant the tomatoes.

I can almost smell the vines now.

Potato Farmers

I hope your week is off to a good start, friends!

Peggy Jasso February 22, 2010 at 9:35 am

I love the photos, sorry I missed you last week. Your mom said she you had just left when I arrived, but I did get to see your potato garden. Your boys look like they are having a wonderful time, so glad you posted the photos. Call next time you are in.


Stefani February 22, 2010 at 9:40 am

We were so sorry to have missed you too! I don’t know if you realize this, but my boys are BIG fans of yours. “Peggy” means Farmville rock star in this household πŸ™‚ They were so excited to see your house and declared, “Mama look at her fence! It’s just like a REAL farm!” They all waved and yelled, “Bye Peggy! When we passed by your house on our way out of town.

We will definitely give you a ring when we come up in March!

Peggy Jasso April 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Stefani, I just read your reply and found it very funny, as it’s the first time anyone called me a “Farmville rockstar”. Please make sure you call me on my cell next time you come; I would love to meet the little guys. I love you website and know you are working really hard to give them great memories of their childhood. Keep up the good work! Your cuz, Peggy

Mary-- The Yellow Door Paperie February 22, 2010 at 10:16 am

Love the spuds, looks like such a great valentines day. We are still covered in three feet of snow, I am just trying to enjoy this season and anxiously await the next– all green!

Stefani February 23, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Three feet! This blows my mind. I really really cannot imagine such a thing.

Mama Urchin February 22, 2010 at 10:31 am

Spud planting time isn’t until St Patrick’s Day for us. Isn’t funny how we remember these dates by the holidays we celebrate. We don’t get to put tomatoes in until May Day at the earliest and we usually wait until Mother’s Day.

Stefani February 24, 2010 at 12:01 am

Well you know, it seems right somehow that potatoes would go in on an Irish holiday, does it not? πŸ™‚

Lynnette February 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

Taters in February! Not much time for dreaming in the winter. In my current neck of the woods “Mother’s Day” is considered the safe time to start planning. I started my gardening journey the last few years in Zone 5. I guess I will have a lot to relearn when we move down to Texas.

Stefani February 24, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh yes… Texas gardening is a whole ‘nuther beast!
the good news is, we can get a second run with tomatoes, beans and squash in the fall!

Christie February 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

We’re also St Patrick’s ‘tater planters here, though we usually get them in way late and they do just fine. Thanks for reminding me that I need to order mine.

Erin February 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I wish I could put spuds in the ground in February! We have about 2 more months to wait. I did start some tomatoes, but they won’t go in the ground until Mother’s Day.

Stefani February 24, 2010 at 12:02 am

I never have been able to manage tomatoes from seed… but then I don’t do well with tomatoes at all. We get a lot of heat, but not enough sun for them. Isn’t that silly? It’s like dying of thirst in the middle of the ocean… ridiculous. Stay warm up there!

Dawn February 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm

What fun for your boys! What a great gift of love that keeps on giving.
β€œThey’re even better than Ore Ida!”… that line is classic!!

Debi February 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm

What a wonderful gift! Your boys look like they had a great time… and special memories were made. The ground is frozen solid here… we won’t be planting anything for at least another couple of months.

Theresa February 23, 2010 at 4:10 am

Looks fun. Lovely sentiments.

Mousy Brown February 23, 2010 at 11:16 am

It’s lovely to fast forward to spring watching you dig and plant – a long wait here yet but keenly anticipated by all! πŸ˜€

Jessica February 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Oh, Stefani, I can’t wait to get my fingers in the dirt now!

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