Potatoes disappoint in latest garden report card

Jerry Apps
While leafy lettuce earned and squash earned high marks in Jerry Apps' Labor Day garden report card, potatoes and rutabagas fail.

Here is my Labor Day garden report with several changes since I shared my July Fourth report. The most disappointing event was with my Kennebec white potatoes. I gave them a grade of B in July. Now I must give them an F. In early August a blight attacked them and killed the plants. In my more than 50 years of gardening, this has never happened. My red potatoes did not suffer from the blight near as much and they offered a fair yield. A grade of A- to them.

As is true of every year of gardening, some vegetables do very well, some fail. That is so true this strange year. A grade of A goes to lettuce, (still cutting lettuce), kale, beets, carrots (best crop in years), string beans, and zucchini (never had a bad year with zucchini.)

Those vegetables receiving an F, besides the Kennebec potatoes include radishes (not one), rutabagas (runty and wormy), and broccoli (never recovered from an early rabbit attack). I thought I had an agreement with the “Head rabbit” to stay out of my garden, but he said his extended family was hungry, what with the dry spell we had.

Grades for the other vegetables at summer’s end: Cabbage-C, Sweet corn-D, Kohlrabi-B. Cucumbers-B, Tomatoes-B, Winter squash-B (first year in three that we’d had any), Peas-C, and Pumpkins-C.

A rather average year when all is said and done. My major disappointments were my Kennebec potatoes and my sweet corn. I really like sweet corn; as does the rest of the family. I doubt we got a dozen ears.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Every gardening year is different; what will next year bring?

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to