A Potato Soup Recipe to Inspire Spring Garden Planning

| 3/4/2020 10:21:00 AM

potato soup in crockpot 

Winter has decided to come back to us after all. We awoke this morning to a light dusting and 20mph winds with temperatures in the low 20s. The kiddo, warm and snuggled in her blankets with Lazy Dog, demanded a snow day. But, alas, even with wind chills hovering in the single digits and snow flying past the windows school is still on. 

Up on Mt. Doom as we call our hill, the wind is howling and rattling the windows and the front door. The massive pine tree next to our house is swaying like a drunken hula dancer, and the trees across the field are swaying perilously close to the power lines. The lights keep flickering, and I keep eyeing the generator nervously - the Boss is at work and I’ve never started the thing before. There is some crazy sequence you have to go through which involves sacrificing a chicken and standing on your head while you flip twenty knobs in an exact order. 

Thankfully, the power stays on and I can get back to my latest project - surfing the seed catalogs for inspiration. I’m a sucker for shiny paper, witty copy and photos of luscious produce that would die in a hot minute in this weather. Thumbing through the pages, I dream of plump red and yellow tomatoes, their sharp acidity tempered by a hint of mid-summer sweetness. I can see them growing now, their vibrant green tendrils reaching up the tomato cages in the raised bed near the center of the garden. The next page yields herbs - sweet, pungent, peppery, acidic - every flavor you can imagine in every shade of green you have ever seen.

My eyes wander over the pages, making notes and plans in my gardening ‘notebook’ (a series of documents in a folder on my iPad). I make a few quick sketches as to how I might lay out my garden this year. I try to practice companion planting and crop rotation as much as possible. I love this time of year, when spring looms large on the horizon and everything is possible before the reality of hot, dry summers and hornworms begin to tamper the relentless optimism of a gardener in winter.

Potato Varieties Inspire Soups and Gardening

I spy potatoes: fingerlings, red, Yukon, Irish white, all of which will be planted this spring, along with my personal favorite sweet potatoes. This year I’m considering growing some of the unusual varieties of sweets, specifically the purple ones from Japan. There’s nothing better than a baking sheet full of tubers drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary on a cold day. Toss in some nice Italian sausages and maybe some sun-dried tomatoes, and you have a comfort food bonanza.

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