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Monday, July 28, 2008

Subversive Potatoes and Clone Wars

Just saw the trailer for the newest Star Wars chapter, Clone Wars. When I first heard about it I thought they said it was going to be a Cartoon Network show. No, it's a movie. At the movie theaters.

When I thought it was going to be on Cartoon Network I thought, wow, that looks great. When I saw the same preview and heard it was a movie I thought, that is going to be one crappy movie.

We just harvested the first batch of potatoes. Friends and family politely chided that it doesn't make sense to grow potatoes. Potato bugs, Japanese beetles, potatoes are so cheap and growing them takes space and is difficult and potato bugs are icky and on and on.

I also recently realized that Kate and I may need separate gardens. Kate wants higher production, but for me, I think I see the garden as a lab. I need to experiment. I need to push the envelope.

One of the reasons I grow potatoes is really related to the peculiar way I do it.

In the late winter-early spring, if you have potatoes around the kitchen and in the light, you are likely to see eyes and buds start to grow on your potatoes which will be quickly followed by their spoilage. This has to do with the ratio of daylight to night. Before they get too bad you can cut them into quarters or smaller and throw the pieces into the ground, they like a lot of compost, just as soon as the soil thaws. These will grow into wonderful potatoes in early or mid summer. When the vines die, use a pitchfork and carefully break up the soil and harvest maybe ten to twenty times the amount of potatoes you put it. You can try it again on the other side of the calendar in the early fall and then harvest mid winter, depending on you zone.

While I agree that potatoes are dirt cheap, the reason I like doing this is it is frugal like my grandmother, and because it's subversive. Technically what I'm doing is against the law because often the potatoes I use are store bought varieties and those usually are patented. By cultivating them I am breaking the law. Unauthorized use of a gene.

But I do it anyway. Mostly because my grandmother would have. It's the same reason I cultivate my own poppy seeds for baking. I recognize the right to intellectual property, my work depends on it. But I think we may have gone too far with genetic patents. Non-commercial cultivation seems like one of those inalienable things. I'm pretty sure Washington would have agreed.

And I don't care how cheap they are at the store, mine make way better french fries. Movie fries, not those cable TV series fries.