We’ve been searching and searching for Grandpa Eddy’s wonderful Bliss Triumph potatoes he grew in the Gallatin Valley, in Montana. A wonderful reader had sent me a bag three years ago, which I planted, of course. Unfortunately, I planted them in our main garden where we have had a problem with scab in potatoes. The potatoes were wonderful — huge and great eating. But they all had severe scab, a corky, ugly blemish on the skins which doesn’t affect the meat of the potato but is easily transferred through the soil.

Fortunately, Will finally got a lead, namely Christine Macknicki at the Alaska Plant Materials Center, 5310 S Bodenburg Spur, Palmer, AK 99645-7646. They didn’t have any Bliss Triumph seed potatoes last spring but she said she would grow some for us. Fast forward to this spring and Will got a call; our potatoes were ready to ship! She sent us a list of their “extra” varieties which were for sale if we were interested. So besides getting 10 pounds of Bliss Triumph, we got two other varieties to trial. Now this was not cheap as potatoes are heavy and had to come all the way from Alaska. But we were thrilled beyond money to again be able to grow this almost lost, wonderful red variety. I’m planting them in an old stock tank (raised bed) with potting soil on the top foot or so. Just to be sure there’s no disease so we can save our own seed for next year.

Here are our bags of Alaskan seed potatoes.

I walked around in our main garden this afternoon and was tickled to see a pretty much bare garden. David had pulled all the tomato stakes and cages and Will pulled the name stakes so there was a neat pile of both of them at one side. The rhubarb noses are poking up through the soil and we’ll be harvesting the first rhubarb in about two weeks’ time. Yum to that! I can’t wait to make a rhubarb pie as we have lots of eggs too.

The garden looks so clean now — ready to till.
The rhubarb noses are coming up already

We aren’t getting cabin fever one bit due to the COVID-19 thing. I don’t miss shopping and Will hates to go to town. We have been filling a whole lot of seed orders though. It seems many seed companies are either out of most varieties or shut down to orders due to social distancing impossibilities in the packing area. We are running low of a few things but did harvest an abundance of seed so we’re in pretty good shape. There are a few substitutions, as needed, but not too many. I really hate to disappoint people! It’s a lucky thing we had such a good harvest last fall. Who would have expected this to happen?

I hope all of you are healthy and safe, planning your spring gardens with joy. It feels so good to dig in the dirt and watch those tiny seeds sprout and grow! — Jackie


  1. The Victorian Kitchen Garden videos are all on YouTube together with a video of Harry Dodson’s ashes being buried – he died in 2005. There is so much useful information from the series. Wonderful stuff for winter or stay home viewing.

  2. Glad to know you’re doing well! Same here. We’re busy working in the garden and on the poultry coops (added quail this season). Our government is talking about opening street shops and allowing people to babysit each other’s kids. Pfffft. No trips to town for me anytime soon, thank you very much.

    • Personally I think they’re being way too optimistic. But hey, they never asked me…..

  3. Planted the seeds I ordered! They are growing so well! Can’t wait until the grey Hopi squash produces! Love this squash. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome Lynne! We love them too. In fact, they actually single-offhandedly started our seed business!

  4. Here’s a rhubarb trick you should try: Get a 5-gallon bucket (dark color if you have one) and put it over a rhubarb plant. Do this right now. Put a brick on the top to keep the wind from blowing it off. The plant will think it is warm and time to grow, but since it is dark in there, it will send up long stalks that are full of sugar! Superb! We learned this from an old English TV show hosted by an old English estate gardener named Harry Dodson. The program was called The Victorian Kitchen Garden. You can still get it on DVD or maybe youtube. Anyway, try the trick; it works a treat. Glad you’re back at it!

    • Wow, that’s interesting. I will try it! I’m always up for something new, which is probably really something old I just never knew about.

  5. That’s wonderful you were able to find the potatoes. My seeds came today, and I made your Minnesota Harvest Bars this week. Thank you for both!

    • I’m glad you got your seeds quickly. The mail seems slow now days. You’re welcome and Happy Spring!

  6. My seed order came today – thank you Jackie – and it is snowing cats and dogs today. Trees are beautiful with snow on the limbs. But no gardening today.

    • Gotta love those spring snows, right? But sometimes we really are wishing for flowers and green.

  7. I planted the seeds you sent and they all popped up in record time. AND they got here in record time. Thank you.

    • I’m glad the Post Office got your seeds to you quickly. We try very hard to get folks’ seeds sent the day after we receive the order. You’re very welcome!

  8. Happy to see your post. It is wonderful that you were able to find your heirloom potatoes again. My father had an onion he got from his grandparents. It has now disappeared. I do wish I could find a relative that still gardens. Perhaps it still grows in a garden somewhere. Stay safe and healthy . These are difficult times.

    • Isn’t it awful when a wonderful heirloom goes extinct? I sure hope you can find a start somewhere. Do you know the name of it? Maybe I can help.

  9. Sounds like you’re back running on all eight cylinders. May we all have a bountiful harvest this year, we’re going to need it.

    • Chugging right along, Selena! I feel you’re right about needing the good harvest. I sure hope everyone plants as much as they possibly can. Hunger sucks!!

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