[Market-farming] Case of the Strange Walking Potatoes

Roger & Carolyn Harvey harvey_mo at hughes.net
Mon Jul 7 23:21:50 EDT 2008

How intriguing! Any chance she could mount one of those wildlife cameras 
to find out what's going on? They work on movement, so should be able to 
capture something.

Carolyn in Missouri

Road's End Farm wrote:
> (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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