6 October 2008

Digging potatoes

Here he is, the main gardener digging for something. What could he be doing in our front yard? He's digging potatoes. Over the past couple of weeks we've harvested about 25 kg (55 pounds) from the back garden, on Saturday Hanno dug up another 30 kgs (66 pounds) in the front garden.

We thought these were kipfler potatoes but they turned out to be Colibans. No matter, we'll still put them to good use over the next few months. We have them stored in baskets in the coolest room of our house - the second bathroom. They're covered with a few layers of newspaper and a towel to make sure no light gets to them.

When looking up potato varieties yesterday, I found this excellent potato chart, and also discovered that Dutch Cream potatoes and Nicolas are two different varieties. I thought they were the same!

These potatoes, planted at the beginning of winter, will feed us for a few months and will be good for all types of dishes like mashed potatoes, potato salad and bake as well as great additions to omlettes, casseroles and soups. I love potatoes and it feels right to me to have a large stash of fresh potatoes ready for the coming months. They should finish around the time the next crop is ready to harvest.

A little bit further on from the potatoes is our second avocado tree. It's growing its first fruit. We eat a lot of avocado so it's wonderful have a couple of trees bearing fruit for us. When we first moved here there was a very old avocado tree in the backyard. We had the sewerage connected and, with all the trench digging, the tree died. Avocados hate having their roots disturbed. Hopefully these new trees will live to a ripe old age and will bear fruit for many years.

The photo above was taken from the chair I sit in when we're having morning tea. It's lovely sitting there because we see nothing other than plants and trees. That big green conatiner is the last water tank we installed. The water it holds waters the pot plants on the front verandah as well as the potatoes and avocados. None of the other plants in the front are watered and survive on rainfall alone.

Many of you know that I've been working on my book proposal and today I go back to work after a two week break. It's become clear to me over this break that I cannot continue to post every day during the week. I've been pushing myself to do it and other things have fallen behind. I'll still post frequently, just not as often as I used to. I need to do all the work my simple life requires, not just write about what should be done. You can subscribe to a feed of my posts so you will know when I've posted. You do that by clicking "subscribe in a reader" orange button in the side bar, and following the instructions it gives.

I hope this week will be a good one for you. It's getting closer to the end of year now so I imagine many of you are putting together a nice collection of Christmas gifts. Enjoy all the small steps and quiet moments your week holds.



  1. Great potatoes! And you can be sure that whenever you post, we'll all be reading! I hope the book proposal is going well.

    Have a wonderful week, Rhonda (and Hanno too!).

    Diana xx

  2. I was wondering how your potatoes in your front yard were going. I heard Peter Cundall say that Dutch Cream and Nicola potatoes were the same, but it appears not. They look fairly similar.
    Enjoy your week.
    take care

  3. You have so many calls on your time
    every day, so its understandable that you need to cut back. We wont mind because we're all waiting for the book :) Take care of yourself

  4. There's nothing like fresh potatoes is there. Although i love reading your blog daily I'm even more excited about your book.
    Have a fantastic week until you blog again take care Caroline

  5. Good Morning Rhonda
    The thought of an Avocado in my front garden, wonderful. Glad you had a good weekend and your day at work goes well.

    Pippa xx

  6. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Lovely Potatoes.We use alot of potatoes. In fact they are what got DH interested in gardening the first yr. we planted them.
    Love the lovely pix in this post ,what a great view you have:o)
    I've been canning aplles all wk.end ,I do understnad how we become busy.
    Hope you have a great wk.

  7. I completely understand a few days ago I ofund myself sitting here pottering baout on the computer reading posts and then I looked at the clock and I had been here for over 2 hours!! so now I have a kitchen timer and will "potter" for two half hour sessions during the day.

    Will miss you daily though


  8. I love to look at nothing but trees too! Of course you should spend less time on your blog - it is not an important part of our lives, just an extra like a hobby. Blogger has a couple of different tools for us to use to keep up to date with our favourite blogs and their are other ways of doing this as well. We will still not miss any of your contributions and if we need extra info we can always look back at the previous writings. Cherrie.

    PS I always have trouble with keeping potatoes and have taken to putting them in the fridge. Have you any ideas on making them last longer in the tropics or sub-tropics (meaning where we don't really have any cool spots in our homes year round)? Thanks

  9. Hi Rhonda,
    The potatoes look wonderful. I was interested in how you store them and you answered that well :)
    I'm sad that you won't be posting everyday, but I understand about not having enough time to do everything. I haven't posted on my blog in quite a while! I llok forward to hearing about the ongoing progress of your book.
    Perhaps you could get some guest bloggers to write for you?
    Just a thought.

  10. Hi Rhonda Jesn :) Hope that you have a lovely week, too! I am going to miss visiting with you every day but am proud for you to have the time you need.

    I have you on my reader and will be keeping up. Love & hugs, Q

  11. Rhonda we'll miss you on the days that you don't post but there's plenty of good reading around this blog. :)


  12. I was always told, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    Posting every day can be so time consuming as I have found myself and time is so very precious. I will look forward to your posts whenever they may be.

    Deborah x

  13. My stars! That's a lot of potatoes. You are self sufficient. We're happy to grow a couple of tomatoes and a few herbs around here. I'm thinking we need to get busy ;-).


  14. Glad the book is coming along, Will look forward to hearing about things when you do post though. But it's all part of living a simple life isn't it?
    Have a great week back at work,

  15. How lovely to be able to grow such exotic (well to me in wet Wales) fruit in your garden. Your daily postings will be much-missed, but it's all in a good cause. Haste ye back.

  16. Rhonda, you're so lucky to have avocado trees! I'd love one. Look forward to updates.

  17. Brings back memories digging potatoes as a farm boy in southern Ontario. Twenty acres a year, bagging and lifting 500 75 pound bags a day.

  18. I live in Ga. in the U.S. We are just starting fall. I sure would like to know when I could plant potatoes. I admire you so for all you do.

  19. Do you have any tips for growing potatoes? Do you grow them from seed potatoes? Many thanks.

  20. Dear Rhonda, I love reading your blog every day, but I know I could never find the ideas to do this myself for several years as you have.......It is better to pace yourself (seriously)than suffer burn out which I have seen a few of my favorite bloggers do.

    Your ideas are very inspiring to a large community and I'm sure we hope you will be able to continue this for a long time which will never happen if you force yourself to post day after day.

    Have you ever considered growing potatoes in the vertical stacking technique that uses/repurposes old tires? I've seen it done well where land is limited. But suddenly I wonder if there are any environmental drawbacks to it.

  21. Rhonda, the potato chart was interesting to my eyes - your varieties are different from what we grow up here in Canada. I realize that our climates are hugely different but I guess I assumed potato varieties were standard world-wide - silly, eh?

    As for slowing down on your blogging that is totally understandable, I was wondering how you managed to do everything in just one day!

    I am busy knitting christmas gifts. I am doing my standard dishclothes (my friends and family love them!) and I was inspired by you to start knitted grocery bags for all my close friends. Thanks for the ideas and I look forward to your posts every week.


  22. I love new potatoes...My grandparents had a room off their basement that consisted of no electricity and completely constructed of ground dirt. It was like my when my grandfather built the farmhouse, he dug a dirt hole and put a door on the side of it....that was were they stored their vegetables for the winter and baskets of eggs...

  23. Sorry Rhonda - found out about potatoes when did some searching on your site (should have looked before I asked!) Thanks for all the great info.

  24. Neat. I've grown potatoes, but never a pineapple.



  25. Wow. That's a lot of potatoes. I love potatoes. :-) My hat's off to you for growing all those veggies. One of these days I'll try my hand at it.

  26. I love fresh potatoes! We've grown them for a couple of years now and this summer I tried a few in containers and they did fine. You just can't put too many in so I don't know if that's a good use of a container but for people that can't grow any other way it's worth a try.


  27. Rhonda,
    I understand you needing to cut back on your posting. You and your family must come first. I always look forward to when you post and thank you for sharing your simple life with us.
    You are a blessing to so many.
    p.s. hugs to Alice

  28. Hello everyone! Willywagtail, humidity and plastic are the absolute enemies of potatoes. When you bring your potatoes home from the shops, take them out of the plastic bag and check all of them. If they're dry and not rotting, place all of them in a basket and put it in a cool cupboard. Now having said that, I know full well the climate up north and you probably have no cool rooms. I can't advise you about keeping spuds int he fridge because I've never done it, but if it's working for you, keep doing it.

    Hi Lis, if I'm away for longer periods than just a couple of days I'll ask for guest bloggers. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Paul, that would have built good muscles for a young man.

    For those who asked, I'll do a post about growing potatoes sometime in the next week.

    Thanks for all the lovely comments.


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