June 20, 1949

Potato planting on PEI usually runs from April to May. Ellen’s Diary from June 20, 1949 talks about set-cutting, a process in which potatoes are cut into smaller pieces to be planted. It also refers to a change in variety of potato that year. Nowadays on PEI, the most common varieties of potato grown are russets, whites and reds.

“We commenced the set-cutting this morning, while a June wind blew about the eaves and tossed the branches of the old white birch playfully and carried to us in the garage the sunshine and bird-song and fragrance with which this day has been replete. This building was the scene of our work, which our husbands term ‘only a pleasant pastime- especially if one has time on her hands!’ There the farmers had carried the potatoes intended for our seed, untreated this year, a strange feature at Alderlea but having been first subjected to long spells out of doors in the sunlight.

We are using new seed, having discarded those of a pioneer strain we had grown with marked success and continuously for close to a quarter of a century. From a doorway James remarked sceptically: ‘We’ll see if these will be as good!’ as our sharp knives bit into these- also of ‘the four hundred.’ ‘Make good sets now’ he reminded us, and Jeanie and I laughed over his apparent lack of confidence in our ability after our years spent apprenticed to him.”

Ellen’s Diary, June 20, 1949

“Cultivating Potatoes on Lewis Farm. Earl Blanchard on tractor George Lewis on Cultivator at Freetown area of Prince Edward Island” from Earle’s Picture Restoration Prince Edward Island.