Posts Tagged ‘botany of desire’


Here it is! The first tomato to make it from seed to dinner plate this year is Silvery Fir Tree, a variety that Fiddlegirl shared with me. This was a surprise winner. I was expecting Sub-Arctic Plenty to win handily, but its tomatoes are still quite green. We had 3 of the Silvery Fir Tree fruits with supper last night. The tomatoes are on the small side of medium, a nice bright red, and a pleasant, juicy mild flavor. I like something a bit more tart, myself, but these were quite fine. Ah, nothing like those first tomatoes straight from the garden!

Here are the Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes on the plant.


I started my tomato seeds on March 19th and wrote about them in a post titled Tomato Season Begins, linked here. I had 7 varieties of tomatoes neatly labelled, but due to an unfortunate cat-astrophe, the seedlings ended up in a jumbled pile on the floor one day. They all survived, but lost their labels. As the plants mature, I can make a good guess at which plants are which. These are surely Indigo Rose. Cool, no? They’ve been that deep rich colour for a while now, but are still hard to the touch. I’m looking forward to tasting them.


I’m pretty sure these are Sub Arctic Plenty, which is a good producer.


And these look to be Michael Pollan. I couldn’t resist adding the namesake of this great writer to my garden. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend The Botany of Desire. I’m looking forward to reading his latest book, Cooked, which is in my big stack of ‘waiting to be read’s.


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Last week was rainy and cold, cold and raw and autumn-like. So this weekend, when we had a couple of sunny days back-to-back, I decided it was time to bring the potatoes in. We’ve been enjoying fresh potatoes for a few weeks now, but I’ve just been digging them up on a need-to-eat basis!


Some years I grow potatoes and some years I don’t bother. I was inspired to make the (albeit tiny) effort this year by Michael Pollan’s account of the industrialization of potato production in The Botany of Desire. It’s both eye-opening and alarming.

I was quite pleased with the harvest, a nice binful. I planted several different varieties, but they came in a mixed bag, so I don’t know which varieties are which. Except the purple ones. They’re easy to spot. Here’s one cut in half.


How cool is that? I sliced this particular potato into long strips and made oven fries to go with hamburgers. Russian Blues are an heirloom potato. From the little I was able to glean via Google, Russian Blues really were developed in Russia, although they originated, like all potatoes, in South America. Like a lot of things in the horticultural world, their “blue” isn’t very blue. They’re a deep purple. The plants weren’t big producers, but I thought they were well worth including in the garden for their novelty value.


I was a little disappointed that I didn’t experience the raptures that Michael Pollan records while digging my potatoes. I was expecting maybe heavenly choirs. Still, it was a pleasant chore. And I love potatoes. Baked, mashed, fried, potato soup, scalloped potatoes, it’s all good. Next year, I’ll maybe plant beans in this location to refresh the soil and move the potatoes to a new spot.


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