Imagine this .. I’m in the veg garden the other day watering my lovely plants (and talking to them as I do). I’m spraying the potatoes and it’s about 5 o’clock. I would much rather water in the morning so the leaves can dry – but sometimes it’s not always possible. So while hosing I happen to stare at a spud plant and think, I didn’t know there was a tomato growing in that bed. Strange. At a closer look – I was shocked, my potato plant is growing a tomato, in fact several of them are (don’t think I’m nuts, they are in the same family)! I dashed indoors thinking Google and plonked myself down at the computer. My first thought was that I had introduced some odd hybrid into my garden, but these round green berries it seems are actually the fruit of the potato plant. The other news is, they are toxic so don’t eat them. In all the years I’ve grown spuds I have never seen them before. Have you?

fruit of the potato plant

Looking like a tomato

I’m also going to hoist out my beans this week. I read somewhere (probably Google) that it is an idea to leave the roots in the ground which I’m going to do this year – I have no idea why as I need to do this, as the peas which I’m planting on the other side of the trellis are a nitrogen fixer too. More to report on this later.

spud flower-1120777

Another spud flower … looking gorgeous!

I have finally done my planting plan. Interested?

Here goes –

  • RB1 – will stay as salad and herbs, it’s just on the other side of the hedge so not too far to go from the backdoor
  • RB2 – garlic and Egyptian walking onions
  • RB3 – brassicas (this is the spud bed – think root crop before brassicas good work Julie)
  • RB4 – garlic and leeks
  • RB5 – giving this one a break. I’ll sow some lupins (another nitrogen fixer) and eventually dig them back in to the bed
  • RB6 – peas and more brassicas and guess what – this bed currently has spuds growing!

Seeds? I’ve bought more and they will be arriving any day via our snail mail. Time to get sowing and germinating. This is always a great time of year!

And those chillies I mentioned just recently, well the jalapeno plants are doing just fine … shame about the habanero


Jalapeno just starting to hit their stride


They taste pretty darn good too …


Beautiful monarch butterfly enjoying my zinnias

bumble magic-1120791

Bumble magic 


And just cos I can … Muriwai beach this morning

Bring on autumn I want some rain!

Happy gardening

63 thoughts

  1. Hi Julie, If you want a wonderful chilli to grow (to go with all those curries!!) get some seed of Rococco chillis. They grow into a big bush, are very easy to grow and are perennial to boot. They are a very hot chilli as our friend from Fiji will attest to!! (He loves them on the side!!). If you would like some seed I shall send them to you. You won’t be disappointed – they are a truly amazing chilli and hardy as well.

  2. Julie I have seen as you say ‘fruit of the potatoes’ on one of our potato plantings. I didn’t know what they were either (I had it on my list to research later). BTW what a cracker of a shot is that butterfly – well done!

  3. Your garden’s a sight for sore eyes Julie! Peppers and carrots and potatoes…ahh. Those potato berries catch you off guard don’t they? Not sure what causes them some years and not others. And of course, great photos as always!

  4. Interesting about the potato/tomato (bet we pronounce those differently😃)…they are both nightshades so maybe it makes sense that their flowers are similar. Your gorgeous photos are balm to winter weary eyes.

  5. That’s funny, but it’s the same family, so makes sense. The other day I came across that grafted tomato/potato plant called ketchup and fries, you know the one? Not at all sure how I feel about that grafting, Kind of like repeat blooming lilacs and irises…just a bit wrong. And it’s astronomically expensive for a garden plant, something like $15 each, but I guess it might be a good novelty for the balcony gardeners. Great idea to keep the bean and pea roots in the soil to decompose. The collect nitrogen which looks like little bumpy nodules on the roots. Then the nitrogen leaches back into the soil. Great idea to sow some green manuring too. Round here we usually use winter rye or clover, but it’s probably a different climate. A bed of lupins would be wonderful though. I don’t think I’d have the heart to till them back in until they bloom and I got a great big vase of flowers. Nice carrots, and I love your zinnias. For some strange reason, I’m absolutely naff at growing zinnias. Actually, I had a great bunch of flower seedlings started last year, all proper and labelled and growing like gangbusters, and then, just before I was ready to plant them out, a windstorm turned over my little plastic cold frame/greenhouse, scattering the seedlings. That was very interesting because I had very little idea which flower was which. 😀 Made for a lovely random planting with giant sunflowers next to little zinnias, fluffy cosmos and calendula. I even managed to somehow get a blue morning glory growing up one of the sunflowers. Monet would have loved it! 😀 Big hugs, and I’ll do a little rain dance and send this darn winter rain your way.

    • Hey Veronica … so good to hear from you. Yes they are in the same family .. nightshade wonders. I have since heard about the tom / pot plant – I didn’t even know they existed. LOL I don’t mind grafting – I was going to graft a cucumber to a pumpkin (same family) and then thought – gulp, this might not be such a good idea 😀 I’m keen to leave in the bean roots, good experiment. Love that nitrogen. I also like doing the green manures. I’m essentially a pretty much no dig gardener – I hate disturbing the microorganisms. But on the occasion I opt to dig the good stuff back in. Feeds that soil doesn’t it? I used buckwheat which was brilliant – hated digging that in when it was flowering though. Isn’t it funny about success and none … I do brilliantly with zinnias but can’t grow echinacea to save myself.You do that rain dance for me Miss. Was that you I saw on Toi Toi FB?

      • Oh it so was! 😀 Getting to know you. In our place in England, one little flood, which lasted about a week, drowned my whole patch. I think echinacea are a bit like Russian sage, they just hate everybody. I think the trick is to completely abuse them and ignore them and then they’ll do something for you. Here in Canada, they grow on the prairie in boiling sunshine, poor soil and little rain. Having said that, I’m actually reminded of a B&B here on the wet coast called Tuscan Farm where they grow acres of the stuff and even invite artists to come sketch and paint the acres when in full bloom. So go figure! Apparently people come to the B&B with colds and flues and leave miraculously healed. (Personally, I think it’s the time away to rest, they say it’s their tea.) 😀

  6. We have a few showers of rain over the last few days great. It’s the rabbits that are my problem. Sadly the dog is too slow.

    Waiting for the spuds to appear so that I can hill them up. Just ordered 8 bags of horse poo for one of my boxes

  7. Bees beach and butterflies …..beautiful! I had those little tomato potato things on some potato plants last season . I thought they were simply something to do with being a seed potato and that they could be replanted .

    • Hey Gill .. love all those insects that the flowers bring into the garden. It is alive with bumbles at present. I never knew about those potato fruits until recently – so surprised as I have been growing spuds for years. Apparently there is no point keeping them for seed. Ah, live and learn 😀

  8. You are teasing me Julie with that lovely shot of Muriwai beach! Yes, I knew about potatoes and their evil looking fruit, often appearing as purple/black things. No wonder the folk in the 16th century decided to have nothing to do with them, or tomatoes, for a long time. All my beds are still chockers, so can’t think about seeding or crop rotation yet. Need a Wwoofer? My young Italian is heading over to New Zealand on March 7- till April 12. Has been very well garden trained and can operate any farm machinery like a pro!

    • Hi lovely … no I wouldn’t never tease you Francesca! LOL Ah, so you knew about those little suckers. No wonder those folk back then didn’t want a bar of them, I bet they found out the hard way! Oh I would so love to say yes to a wwoofer – but we have had people staying for months and I so need a wee break. I bet they are garden trained to perfection! Good to hear from you as always … 😀

      • I understand about having people for months. Sometimes I have to go overseas to get away from them. Lucky, Mr T has been playing on the computer and finding lots of little Asian escapes.

  9. Hi Julie. The potato fruit is just the plant trying to set seed. I’ve had them a few times – depending on the variety. I always pull them off so they don’t divert energy from the spuds underground and also to stop the kids eating them. The beans roots thing is because they are nitrogen fixes so it is good for them to rot in the garden. Having said that some varieties can grow back if the winter isn’t too harsh. Your late summer garden looks really good. Cheers Sarah : o )

    • Hey Sarah … funny isn’t it, I have grown spuds for years and never seen this before. And I might just pluck them off too, although the spuds are growing gangbusters below. I know that the beans are nitrogen fixers – I’m just wondering whether it is such a great idea given I’m planting peas on the other side. Gotta love those legumes. Oh my garden is starting to look tired … rain please! Thanks for stopping by Miss. 😀

  10. Oh, your zinnias!!!, with a little yellow crown of stamens in the center. I have been looking for seeds of those everywhere. I have tried many, like Benary, and California Giant, but that wasn’t it. What is the name of yours? Are they mixed colors?
    You have a lovely garden, and it is so soothing to know it is summer somewhere far from where I live (Massachusetts)

    • Hi Marie. I grew some from seed that I grew ages back (can’t remember the names – sorry) and bought the rest – which I think were sold as mixed colours. I just love zinnias and they grow so well in our garden. Oh thank you for you lovely comment – we at nearing the end of summer, but I don’t mind at all. And I don’t think my garden will either 😀

  11. I had no idea the fruit of the potato plant was a wanna-be tomato! It looks so cute. Deadly cute. I love my visits to your garden…I always smile incessantly as I ramble about. Always rejuvenating. Loved the bumble and butterfly visitors and of course I can avidly appreciate the scene from the sea. Looking forward to the rains of late spring, here, as you will be enjoying the coming autumn rain. Not looking forward to a flattened sea, though! 😉 Fantastic post. Those jalapenos look like they crackle with flavour…LOVE jalapenos. Cheers with bug hugs and briny embraces,

    smiling toad

    • Gosh, thank you so much .. love to know that you enjoy your visits to my garden. Nothing like rejuvenation 😀 What a wonderful comment .. I’m still sitting her reading and enjoying your words. I love chillies too! Big hugs back at you! Julie

  12. Hi Julie, great pictures with butterfly and bumble, love it! Spring is on the horizon here in Munich and my roses started to sprout. I look forward to see some butterflies in our garden, beautiful animals! I never heard of the fruit of the potatoe plant, but a garden is always good for a surprise…;))

  13. Looks like a solanum member to me, Julie, and there quite a few around. Love that beach, wish it’d be nearer. Do you want our rain? I’d gladly part with it!!!

  14. Julie. Wonderful photos and update! I can’t tell you how good everything looks. I’ve been buying a few pkgs. of seeds here and there and will be starting some inside in the next few weeks. We still have snow but Lisa and I found pussy willows today. The spuds look like they will be feeding you well into autumn and the carrots look fantastic! You should give one to Dan. Our hounds have always loved carrots. They even enjoyed digging them themselves (something you may not want)! Take care and enjoy the changing season. Bob

    • Hey Bob! How are you? So good to know that you have stopped by. My seeds arrived the other day and are now sitting in a seed tray doing their thing. Gosh, carrot eating hounds. No I best not tempt Dan 😀 Missing your blog and you! Take care

  15. i wish i had the energy right now to work out garden bed planning and what to do next and how to rotate. i keep forgettign to turn my mind to this!
    i love your zinnias. i must get some of them next spring.

  16. Spring is arriving her as you go into Autumn. Though Autumn is also my favorite time of the year, I cannot wait to get my hands dirty in the garden in about a week. Love your blog, great photos!

  17. Love the photos; the deadly nightshade spud fruit reminded me of Audrey II in the film Little Shop of Horrors, if you’ve ever come across it…..

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