Buried Treasure

This might seem obvious in hindsight, but my top tip for the over fifties is not to spend your first weekend home after a fortnight’s holiday in the US attempting to undo all the overeating by going for your first run in several years, followed by two days of binge gardening in an attempt to undo two weeks’ neglect. Especially when the run in question was a 5km park run that involved a 20 mile* round trip bike ride to get there and the first chore on the gardening list was digging up your potatoes.

Neglected vegetable beds

Still, I’m pleased to report that I actually made it round the course without stopping or injuring myself, and even finished about two-thirds of the way down the pack (admittedly most of the people behind me were either running with a dog or a buggy or both, or started walking almost immediately the whistle blew at the start, but we take our victories where we can find them these days). If I can manage to get up and down the stairs without making a variety of wincing noises by the time next Saturday rolls around, I might even go back and see if I can improve my time.

weed-filled potato beds

There was a potato bed under there, somewhere

The potatoes were also a bit of a bonus. I’d planted five International Kidney seed potatoes (effectively Jersey Royals, but you can only call them that if they’re grown in Jersey so I can only imagine the Jersey Royal Marketing Board spent an entire meeting brainstorming the most offputting potato variety name they could come up with to discourage anyone from growing them elsewhere) in the greenhouse and we’ve had the most delicious potatoes from them, but all good things must come to an end, and the rest of the potato plants had started looking sickly and dying off back in July. Pretty soon they had all gone, and the weeds had taken over so I wasn’t hopeful when I put my fork in the ground but they’ve come up trumps with a reasonable crop:

dug up potatoes

About half the haul

Complete with a bonus florin which, given the speed with which our country appears to be going back to some imagined past, I fully expect to be legal currency some time soon.

two shilling coin

We also have one, count ’em, reasonable looking fennel bulb and a handful of what I will be marketing as ‘baby fennel’ if it doesn’t get a move on in the next couple of weeks.

fennel bulb

On the downside, it would appear that in our absence the mice discovered the beetroot and have spent a blissful undisturbed fortnight while we’ve been away hollowing almost every single one out, the bastards.

mouse-nibbled beetroot

I am now aching in all directions but I have at least made a start at restoring order to the raised beds, and the potatoes have all been sorted and stored, ready for the winter. Bring on your food shortages, Operation Yellowhammer, we’ll be fine. At least for as long as we are happy to survive on potatoes and beetroot-fed mice and whatever a florin will buy you these days …

partly dug potato patch

* I know, I know, but park runs are in kilometres and I still think of distances in miles and I’m not going to start converting either of them just for the sake of consistency.

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7 Responses to Buried Treasure

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m filling”aching in all directions” for future use.

  2. disgruntled says:

    I’m glad my suffering has brought some benefit

  3. welshcyclist says:

    I wish I could run, I hated doing so for rugby training or the dreaded cross country run for PE at school. Nowadays my gammy knee joints won’t tolerate it, which is depressing. Thank goodness for my bike, because sadly I don’t need to go on holiday to over indulge. Working shifts in a signal box with full cooking facilities does not help either. I am very impressed with that garden produce of yours. Reminds me of when I was growing up my dad always had a full vegetable garden which he’d tend for a couple of hours in the mornings after his night shift.

  4. disgruntled says:

    I loathed running at school and I’m not sure I exactly enjoy it now but I’m glad I can …

  5. Charles says:

    I quite enjoy running now, I was the slowest runner in 3 rowing clubs and in Namibia I was the slowest runner in the Namib Stragglers. I came to enjoy it when I discovered slow running. You run, jog, as slow as you wish, the only rule is that you have to have both feet off the ground briefly during each stride. That stops you walking and gives you the benefits of load bearing exercise. I am now 59 and my wife is quicker than me, much quicker. This is a blow as I introduced her to running, we had a wild life when we were younger.

    Full of envy over your fennel, mine bolts every year. My beetroot never approaches your impressive size, the sparrows love the shoots and what they leave the snails eat….I grew Charlotte spuds and I have to say that they were very good, I dug the last lot up a couple of weeks ago.

    I managed to knacker my left knee in the spring kneeling down to plant spring onions, it went click and that was it. I can still manage a slow 3 miles and I can still get up and down a hill so it’s not that bad.

  6. Francesca says:

    Great blog. Love the diary style of writing. Your potatoes are looking great!

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