Potato Pick-Me-Up and the Planting Process

An old man wrote to his son in jail. He complained that he was too elderly to dig up his garden to plant this year’s potatoes.

The son wrote back to his father ending his letter with “don’t dig up the garden dad, that’s where I hid the money from the robbery”

Next morning a van full police men arrived at the dad’s house and dug up the garden looking for the money. They found nothing.

The father then wrote to his son in jail asking what he should do about the garden.

The son wrote back “Now you can plant the potatoes”…

Growing potatoes is a process that requires intensive, physical labor. Potatoes in Vermont and on the Tuberville sites are generally planted in late spring, or late April and early May.
Planting marks the beginning of the growing season. Potato seeds are planted in long rows and covered with fertilizers and soil. Each potato tuber must have an eye to sprout a new potato plant. As the tuber grows and breaks through the soil it is necessary for the grower to pile soil around the base of the plant. This cultivating process is commonly referred to as “hilling”; tubers that are exposed to the sun during the growing season become sunburned and turn green. This critically affects the potato’s appearance, taste, and market value.
When growing the seed into the potato, the farmer needs to cultivate and make sure that the new soil can be dug up. The farmer has to make sure before harvest that that the blossoms are showing. They need to mature before they are dug up.

Tuberville currently plants on a community garden style, one-acre plot in Colchester.This community garden model is very labor intensive using simple machinery and hand tools much like what would be done in a family garden. Tuberville currently produces between 4,000 – 6,000 pounds of potatoes per season this way.

The potato planting and harvesting process is supported by the physical labor of the community, as well as the support of our online community. By purchasing a CSA, individuals or businesses buy a “share” of Tuberville’s acreage, which supports the cost of production.  At the end of harvesting, the crops are then donated to charities, compliments of the shareholder.

The purchase of a Sharecropper, on the other hand, allows for the individual to rent a row of the potatoes.  The renter would then have more access to decisions surrounding the planting and growth of the potatoes, such as which type of potatoes or to which local charity he or she wishes to donate.

Check out the website for more information on how to join the Tuberville community.




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