Gardening

Digging the last potatoes of the season

Earlier this week I was out in the garden digging the last of my potatoes. I had the cold northern winds from Hurricane Sandy to keep me company. So that gave me the incentive to get the job done before lunch.

I got a chance to use the antique potato-digging fork I found at an estate sale this summer. It’s a rather hefty tool with several heavy steel tines.  While I was standing in line to pay for it, a guy offered to buy it from me so his son could use it to spread bark mulch. If his son knew, I’m sure he would thank me for not selling it to his Dad. Then, a lady told me she wanted to take it apart and have a blacksmith bend it into a coat-hook. I was glad to save it from that fate.

At first, it was a real struggle wrestling that beast of a tool. I almost traded it for my lighter weight garden fork but decided to keep going.

Even with our drought, I managed to harvest a decent potato crop.

The secret I found was to use the weight of that steel to my advantage. By directing the downward force of the tool into the garden soil, I was able lift many more spuds with each forkful than with my garden fork.

I got the job done before lunch and have about 150 pounds of potatoes stored for the winter. The potato-fork has earned a permanent spot in my garden tool collection.

Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.