If you've been following my blog, you might recall that the kiddos and I planted potatoes in the spring. I read a fantastic children's book, Two Old Potatoes and Me, and we planted old potatoes just like the father and daughter in the story. You can see the previous posts about it here.
The children spent a lot of time learning about potatoes, literacy, plant growth, and nature. We read
almost every week, all summer and into the fall. We learned what color is "periwinkle," and noticed that the child in the book has two homes, one with dad and one with mom. For children whose home experience is similar, it's very affirming to find characters they can relate to.
The kiddos learned that potatoes have eyes, and that they can grow from them. We saw some of the pieces of potato rot or get eaten, and then watched as the surviving plants grew. The children added soil to the pot, burying the base of the plants frequently to encourage potato growth. They even looked for potato beetles regularly! They may not ever do it again, but the kiddos know how to grow their own food, and that's a powerful piece of knowledge!
When the children found worms this year, they put them into the soil around the potatoes, and watched as the worms dug down into the soil. Obviously those worms survived and thrived, evidenced by the massive crop of worms we found. I dumped the soil and potato plants into the vegetable garden for us to dig through, so the worms and the soil is now nourishing the garden, ready for another crop. We also learned that worms are not boys and girls, but hermaphrodites - they are both male and female!
So no, this crop of potatoes is not going to go very far. I'm going to make mashed potatoes with them, but will have to supplement with store bought potatoes to make enough for us all to enjoy. Still, I'm happy with the return on the investment: we grew some children, right along with the potatoes!