Starlings and Potatoes

It’s not a dish, it’s that time of the year. Today was the first day I saw starlings in my garden and I managed to snap a few pics too, although I could not open the window – firstly they would whoosh and secondly I would need to remove several plats from the windowsill first.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Shame that I could not make better pictures, the light was just right to show the green metallic sheen on their feathers.

And since the ground unfroze and it is unlikely to freeze again, I have taken out the moldy remnants of last year’s potato harvest and sorted out about 100 tiny sprouting potatoes.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I did not plant them in the regular vegetable patch though. I have prepared a small plot in the fall by covering it with mown and dried grass and I put these tiny potatoes on top of the soil below the rotting grass.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

It is an experiment to check how (whether) they will prosper. Even if they fail, the mated grass cover has at least succeeded in suffocating all other plant life below it (grass and moss) and that portion of the garden will thus be prepared for flattening and rejuvenating the lawn. The potatoes were really tiny, as you can see, so no matter what, no big harvest is to be expected. Best case scenario – I get bigger seeding potatoes for the regular vegetable patch for next year.

The regular patch will this year be covered with beans, sunflowers, corn, and maybe beets and onions. Now that the weather is warm, I will have about a month of busywork in the garden and only after that I will be able to go back to making knives again.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    My experience on starlings is that they move rather quickly in a way that is fun to watch. But you captured their colours very nicely indeed.

    It’s an interesting idea, growing potatoes under a layer of grass compost and perhaps bootstrapping a bigger harvest next year.

  2. Dunc says

    Many people successfully grow potatoes under a straw mulch, it’s quite a popular no-dig option. Grass clippings should work just the same.

  3. Tethys says

    My brain read Starlings and Potatoes as a recipe for a terrible casserole reminiscent of Larks Tongue in Aspic.

    I love the spangles on Starlings. North American species look similar, but slightly more dull in comparison.

    I have some Yukon Gold potatoes that are sprouting foliage. The ground is still frozen here, but I think it would be a good experiment to plant them in a large pot. It would certainly be easier to add soil to a pot than it is to hill up potatoes, since my sunny veggie garden area is pretty small.

  4. says

    @Tethys, North American starlings are in fact European starlings and they are an invasive species in America. They might seem duller because they usually are greyish-black. Only in certain light conditions and at certain angles have their feathers nice metallic sheen to them.

  5. says

    Starlings are so pretty.
    This year I planted my potatoes in those vertical planting pots. lets see if that works, if not I’ll have to think of another solution, because last year’s potato harvest was ridiculous. And by “ridiculous” I mean we got one meal, but only because it was during the week and Mr was absent.

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