Over the last week or two I have been sneaking into the garden bed to collect a handful of potatoes here and there. My love for everything potato does not come with patience. There was no way that I could walk past my garden bed and see a potato peeking up from the dirt and not eat it for dinner.
Today was a different day! It was officially potato harvest day. The tops of the potato plants had gone from their beautiful green leafy stalks to brown and wilting. That’s okay though because just beneath the surface were more side dishes then I could imagine!
Picking potatoes isn’t the easiest or cleanest work but when I was finished, and got all the dirt out from under my finger nails, I felt extremely accomplished.
Farming 97 Years Ago
As I was digging up our lovely red Norwood Potatoes it made me think of my Great Grandfather, William Dungar. William immigrated from England to Canada in 1904 (well after the good old pioneer days) when he was 16. He settled in Lindsay Ontario and became a farm hand with the Cuddahee Family.
How do I know this?
Besides being an avid family tree researcher I was lucky enough to have been given his diaries from 1917 to 1920.
The diaries are a great read and a piece of history. It’s his diary from 1920 that has really stuck with me.
After World War 1, William resumed his life as a farm hand. Through the summer months he recorded all the produce the farm harvested, most of that harvest included potatoes. He wrote in his diary everyday day, 8 bags of potatoes, 10 bags of potatoes and so on.
I can’t begin to imagine what a 12 hour day of field work must have been like 97 years ago, with nothing
but your hands and a few tools.
Harvesting a garden bed was enough for this Not So Pioneer.
I’ve grown a new found respect for those farmers who planted and picked by hand but also for the farmers of today that continue this tradition and sell their harvest at farmers markets and stands at the side of the highway.
The Tradition Continues
I may not have fields and fields of potatoes but I do run my little homestead with nothing but my hands and a few tools. I can’t help but feel connected to my great grandfather. Especially when harvesting my potato crop.
This year I grew and harvested roughly 40 pounds of potatoes. That’s the most I’ve ever grown and I’m looking forward to growing more next year.
Potatoes are a great low maintenance vegetable that believe it or not you can grow anywhere.
Don’t believe me?
I’ve grown potatoes in bags, gardens, raised garden beds and laundry baskets. You don’t need a lot of space to enjoy home grown potatoes.
Give it a try! You can do it!!