[Market-farming] Case of the Strange Walking Potatoes

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Mon Jul 7 15:28:57 EDT 2008

(anybody remember the Case of the Strange Walking Sets from a couple of 
years ago?)

A friend of mine just came by with a puzzle. She had recently, and 
belatedly, planted some overly-sprouted potato sets. Most of them are 
growing fine; some haven't leafed out yet. Something has been coming 
by, each night, and digging up one potato. It's always one of the ones 
that haven't leafed yet. It's always only one potato. The next day, my 
friend replants it; the next night, the same one gets dug up again. 
After two or three replantings, the dug up potato not only gets dug up, 
but disappears; and whatever it is moves on to another potato; not the 
next one in the row, but another one that hasn't leafed yet. So far, 
this sequence has continued through about three potatoes.

The potato isn't just pulled up, because the hole it was in is always 
dug out larger than the potato piece. They're planted in old rotted 
hay; but there's old hay all over the place that isn't getting holes. 
They weren't treated with anything, or fertilized in the planting hole. 
Beans and squash growing in the same area have not been disturbed.

Anybody have any idea?  My friend thinks "there's something out there 
playing soccer with the potatoes by the light of the stars and the 
fireflies; when they kick one potato / ball to pieces, they move on to 
the next."

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale
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