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Observation: One Potato, Two Potato


A couple months ago the boys ran barefoot, shovels in hand eager to pull out the remnants of our summer garden. Last spring we transformed the decorative raised beds that edge our suburban lawn to vegetable patches, set up a compost pile on the strip of land between us and the neighbors, and kept a journal of our progress. At one point my youngest turned to me and remarked, "Happy Winds-day, Piglet," which made me burst out laughing because it truly was a perfectly wonderful blustery day indeed! 


As the boys pulled at pesky crab grass, harvested the last of the tomatoes and onions for afternoon salsa, they stumbled on an unexpected treasure. Growing in the midst of the grass were a handful of taller weed-like plants that we decided to pull from the soil. The boys were delighted to discover potatoes beneath the surface in various stages of development. I asked them how they thought potatoes started growing in our garden when we had never planted potatoes? After some thought and discussion they realized that these were volunteer plants that must have come from our rich compost soil.


I photographed the plants, and placed the real thing in plastic bags in the refrigerator for observation research later in the week and ran to the local library for a handful of books on the subject.


Be looking, be flexible, be ready! Sometimes the most unexpected treasures make the most interesting subjects for observation!