17 May 2013

Mother and Baby

A few months back we planted potatoes in the plot beneath the palm tree. The potatoes did terribly, barely growing any foliage at all, and then mainly dying.

The Assisi group from 2nd grade decided to figure out what happened. We dug down into the potato patch and were startled to discover huge masses of roots everywhere. The roots resemble the pesky agapanthus roots, but these under the palm are thinner and more dry. We surmise that they are small root hairs from the massive palm tree. They are everywhere in the plot, probably seduced by the compost we've been adding over the years.

Unfortunately, it prevents any root crop from taking hold. We'll have to relegate the area to shallow rooted vegetables like lettuces. When we dug up the potato plants, we found some barely-used mother potatoes. The mother is the one that you plant to begin the cycle. The plant uses the stored energy in the tuber to grow until it can support itself from sunlight and soil. When harvesting a healthy, productive potato crop, you'll find lots of new potatoes, and usually no mother at all since she was consumed in the growing process.

Here, however, you can see the mother above her one solitary offspring.