Three potato, score! We made it! Our potato houses were a success!
Sort of. Most of the plants still died off, but only after the hardest of freezes, so the good news: I have found my potato frost protection.
My daughter and I came up with the idea. Okay, so it was my loopy idea, but she handled the construction end and beautiful construction it was! And quite practical, I might add. (She gets that from her father.) But when in need, resourcefulness must transform into creativity–momma style!
So here’s the dilemma: What do you do when you’re so eager to plant potatoes, yet uncertain as to what your winter holds in store–do you bite your nails and wait, or go full tilt and get those babies in the ground! (Oops, that wasn’t a question, was it?) All right, so I showed my hand too soon, but of course, you go ahead and plant those tubers! They have sprouts, it’s warm outside–what else would you do? I mean, no one’s stopping you, right?
No one, but Mother Nature, that is.
Hmph. Watching the weather forecast last week, I grunted under my breath. Record lows were expected in our area for not one, but TWO weeks! Are you kidding me? C’mon! Who invited the Ice Mistress to the party? According to my kids, the culprit is most likely Jack Frost. Saw him in a couple of movies last month and he looks to be quite a troublemaker, if you ask me. But refusing to give in so readily, I lock my arms across my chest. I have made my decision, and I’m sticking to it.
Have no choice, really, since the potato seeds have already blossomed into lovely young women. Only one question remained: How best to protect them? That’s when my creative juices started to flow, coursed wildly through my body, the ideas quickly ricocheting from one end of my mind to the other until it hit—
But of course! Every lovely young princess needs her very own castle… Why not my princess potatoes? A firm structure would not only be aesthetically pleasing, and provide protection from the frost, but it would insulate them against an extended duration of freezing temperatures—the real killer out there.
I’m proud to report our experiment worked. Aren’t they beautiful? My daughter worked through the cold afternoon to decorate the potatoes’ new home–er, castle. (Pay no attention to her lack of jacket–she thinks she’s a polar bear.)
After all sections were completed, we placed them over the potatoes, added some mulch “landscaping” to beautify their surroundings (keep them warm), then retreated to the roasting temperatures of our own humble abode, holding our hands to the fire. And waited. It was a grueling evening–never mind the toasty flames and delightful movie–but we were confident our gals would make it through the night.
Upon our return the next day, we were thrilled to learn they survived! Mostly. Well, compared to the ones not fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of their very own castle. They were crispy critters, but not these girls! Just look at their beautiful shades of green, fanning about them like the fullest of ballroom gowns.
After several nights in a row of freezing temps, though, our girls took a beating.
For a while there, I thought we could still save them.
At this point, I could probably still categorize them as “living” things.
But after the weekend, I’ve since given up on the notion.
Ever the optimist, I look for the positive. No matter how dreary things seem, there’s always a trickle of sunlight. In this case, flurry. Redirecting the kids’ attention, I shout, “Hey kids, look! It’s snowing outside! Hurry, come see!” The immediate patter of running feet through the house warms my heart.
After all, an afternoon of family fun will heal any disappointment the garden can dish out.
P.S. But just to prove I’m no quitter, I’ve already buried another half dozen tubers in the next bed over. We’ve had our record cold. What are the odds it will happen again this season? (If you responded highly probable, I’ll kindly ask you to refrain from raining on my parade–at least until sometime between Feb and March, when my next attempt goes into the ground.)
Remember: Gardening is an adventure!