Time to plant those spuds!

Seed potatoes are in stock locally—get yours in the ground now

Tater-planting time
Local gardening expert David Grau has put the word out via his fine, informative website, www.valleyoaktool.com, that is it indeed time to get your potato starts in the ground!

“By all means,” says Grau, “plant potatoes now. It may be hard to find seed potatoes, but it is not too early to plant.”

Potato leaves and stems are sensitive to the frost, but as Grau points out, “it will take a while for the seed potatoes to sprout, and chances are they won’t be nipped by frost. Most people around Chico plant their main crop around St. Patrick’s Day, but early spuds will give you those new potatoes at the same time that some of your spring greens are ready for harvest, so don’t hesitate to do it now.”

It just so happens that Northern Star Mills (510 Esplanade, 342-7661) just got its supply of seed potatoes in, as did Plant Barn (406 Entler Ave., 345-3121). Northern Star Mills has Yukon Gold and blue-potato starts, at 75 cents a pound; reds, I was told, are on their way. Plant Barn’s seed-potato selection ranges from nonorganic Yukon Gold, Red Thumb and French Fingerling potatoes, to organic blue, Rose Finn Apple and Russian Banana potatoes. All varieties are $5.99 for 10 pieces.

Grau also suggests you try to find “an old timer in your own neighborhood who has been growing potatoes for years” who might share some of his or her seed potatoes. “Cultivating a relationship with a gardening neighbor could be a great thing for both of you,” he writes. “She or he could probably use a little help digging a bed or turning compost. No better way to learn, really.”

Happy birthday, Lin!

The best potluck ever
My daughter, Lydia, and I had the pleasure of attending the 80th birthday celebration of local Soto Zen teacher and author Lin Jensen this past Saturday at the Trinity United Methodist Church. Besides the pleasure of wishing Lin (pictured) a happy birthday and enjoying all the good company at the bustling event, party-goers were treated to the best (organic, locally sourced) potluck food I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Everyone truly put their best chef’s foot forward when they prepared their food offerings for this event. The fresh green-bean salad I had was a far, far, delectable cry from that soggy, canned-soup-laden green-bean dish that seems to pop up at just about every Thanksgiving dinner; and I can still taste the divine dried-apricot, almond and quinoa salad I ate that night (whoever made that: send me the recipe!).

Lovin’ the latest Adbusters
Issue No. 100 of Adbusters (with its hilarious, right-on cover picturing a 10-decker cheeseburger and the words, “Are we happy yet?") is so loaded with good stuff that I am reading it from cover to cover.

“We awoke one morning to the dark realization that humanity is being dragged into a black hole of ecological, financial and spiritual catastrophe … that our democracy has been seized by a corporatocracy … that every day two hundred species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become forever extinct … that a deluge of advertising is sleepwalking our civilization to the brink of insanity ….”

And that’s just the beginning.