Worms and Flowers

Oh! Potato!

Posted in Garden by Lzyjo on July 7, 2009

Once bitten twice shy. Never, never again. That’s just how I feel. The potatoes have not paid for themselves. There was misery and heartbreak all along the way, from digging the trenches, to hilling up and constantly fighting the bugs. I should I have used straw? Would it alleviate some of the misery of clay soil? With the added expense of straw on top of $25 for seed potatoes, would it be worth it to put in more money to possibly get more potatoes, that is if the potato bugs don’t kill the plants.

The yellow fleshed Charlottes were as expected flavorful and creamy, but the Huckleberries were terrible. Their signature red and white flesh did not develop in this climate and they had a peculiar nutty flavor that I did not care for.  A few of the potatoes actually left a bitter taste in my mouth. Yuk. I haven’t felt this defeated is a long time the only thing it reminds me of is one of the worst experiences of my life.

I began playing viola when I was nine. I had many music teachers along the way, and I also dabbled with other instruments. I had a special relationship with every one of my teachers. At the time, the instrument was a terrible chore and something that I was not very interested in, or adept it.

In high school I tried out for the State Orchestra in New York, which really involved a lot of hoop-la, if you’ve ever been around it you know the insanity. First you must pick a selection with a certain difficulty, I think, at least a six. There are children as young as 10 trying out just for grades. Anyway, the first time I picked a piece and practiced it for many months before the tryout. I did okay, my timing was a little bad, but I compensated for that with over expressive dynamics. Smiling at the judge may have helped a tiny bit, but in the end it’s not the judge who accepts or denies you. I did very poorly on the sight reading of a very intricate timing exercise, but I got a final score of 90 out of 100 anyway. It still wasn’t enough to get in.  A 94 or better may have worked, it just depends on how many others try out and their scores.

The next year I tried a different piece with piano accompaniment. I practiced even longer and even harder. A few weeks before the tryout I met the accompanist. As soon as I started playing it went from bad to worse. We never made it through the first line of the song. It had been years since I played along with a piano and I had never played or heard this song with accompaniment, the pianist was so unforgiving she basically snapped and said, I was totally unprepared and why was I wasting her time? I ended up crying, packing my instrument and leaving, no more than 15 minutes after arriving. That one person’s reaction was enough to make me quit playing all together. No more lessons. No more practicing. I was so hurt I didn’t even want to talk about the confrontation with my incredibly sweet and funny teacher. She even told me that her daughter had quit totally becuase of the same woman.

I’ve always had an all or nothing complex, if I can’t be the best I don’t want to bother at all. It’s so wrong, I think a famous coach once said, “the forest would be pretty quiet if only the birds with the best songs sang.” I haven’t played the viola since that day, but it was a good musical foundation.  Now, like almost everyone in Music City, music is an important part of my life. It is something I cherish and have a lot of fun doing, no matter what instrument I’m playing,  (as long as it’s not viola!)

My potatoes have disheartened me so much I am considering not growing them ever ever again. I know that when winter rolls around again I will probably at least consider it, but right now I wouldn’t dream of  growing potatoes again.

Is there a vegetable you  have totally given up on?

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  1. tina said, on July 7, 2009 at 9:18 AM

    Good morning. Don’t give up on the taters. I used to grow them each year and really loved the part of digging, more so than any harvest I got. Maybe it was the variety. I usually grow whatever is in the store. I let them sprout then plants. I tell you though, once planted they will usually come up each spring. So watch for these ones next February and you’ll be surprised. They’ll even reward you with some spuds. Never given up on any veggie, just choose not to grow it. Corn is the one I do not grow. I don’t have enough room and it is rather cheap to buy in the story anyhow.

    Thank you, Tina, I won’t give up! Don’t get me started on the corn! Oy! I think I’m gong to resort to buying it too. I don’t have a whole acre for the stuff! It is amazing, digging the potatoes out of the ground. Maybe I’ll try using store bought, thanks for the tip.

  2. Faith said, on July 7, 2009 at 8:34 PM

    Total crop failures are common. If I were you, I’d just practice with a few methods on a small scale. Just bury a few potato pieces from store bought ones in different ways as experiments and see what works for you in your soil.

    If you have the straw, I might try digging that straw into the ground very thickly and using it again. Clay can be very hard to grow in. Also, you might try adding gypsum to the soil to break it up in that spot, see if that helps.

    My potato experiment did not work out this year at all, and it was a lot of work as well. I was just not prepared enough for what needed to be done. I will try something else next year. 🙂

    Shame on people who destroy people’s dreams. I’ve met some of them. 😦 I hope you will pick up your viola and make beautiful music again, just for the sheer joy of being able to say, “She did not break my joyful spirit. I make music.” 🙂


    Great suggestions, Faith! One time I planted a few pounds of seed potatoes and none came up, apparently in the summer it’s common for bacteria to dissolve, for lack of a better word, the seed potatoes before they sprout! I love the idea of varying the cultivation methods, diversifying the portfolio so to speak!

    That woman was really mean! A house should land on her! I loved playing the drums much better than viola and now I’m really focusing on my sax, practicing a ton, recording, and generally working my lips off…and loving it!

    Nobody should let people like that discourage them. I was and maybe still am, too eager to take bad comments to heart and ignore compliments. Like they say, you shouldn’t be mean to yourself, enough people will do that for you! 😦

  3. jgh said, on July 8, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    Man, I feel like tracking that pianist down and telling her off! You were only 9? What a b*tch. My daughter takes piano lessons and I’ve kinda steered her away from the competetive stuff. I really hope she continues to play just for enjoyment — and I hope you will play viola again, too!

    Well, I tried sprouting some hardy kiwi vines this year and I think the time has passed for them to make their appearance. I even started them in an Earthbox! I figured if they’re gonna grow anywhere it would be there, but no dice.

    Sorry to hear about your potatoes, but I know you have lots of other goodies to pull from the ground this year!

    There really is no need for the competitiveness. I wasn’t forced into the tryout, it was my own need for some sort of acceptance or grade number. I started playing when I was nine. I was probably 15 or 16 when the incident happened, trying out for the orchestra. Some of my friends had played in Carnegie Hall before that age!

    I have a lot of purple going on right now too. The sweet peas and purple morning glories look great together.

    I tried sprouting kiwis and never had any luck. I always tipped the pot over after anything came up! I’ve heard they’re prolific though. I wish you good luck!

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