"IT'S like digging for buried treasure," my friend tells me.

I already know that harvesting potatoes is like digging for buried treasure. I know this because he has told me about eight hundred million times already.

And here we are at the eighth annual potato day in Glasgow, perusing the spuds, checking out the varieties on offer. My ego draws me each year to the Catriona variety. We are a strong grower with high yield, blue and oval with a light yellow flesh and excellent flavour.

There are no Catrionas this year and I am popped. It is February and, unruffled about the news of some virus from somewhere else, we merrily eye the seed potatoes, pick up some shallots and some onion varieties for the allotment. At the seed swap table packets are switched with some excitement. It's not my allotment, it's the allotment of the potatoes-are-treasure pal, but I love potato day because I love time in the company of people who have passion for not obviously passionate things.

There is a tatty bash - a competition to chit and grow a potato in a bucket. The heaviest yield wins. I love to win so pay my donation and take my bucket.

At home I pop my new friend in an egg box and stick her in a corner of the kitchen. Then work becomes very busy because suddenly everyone is very ruffled about a virus from somewhere else that is now here.By late March we are locked down and I am looking for things to do at home that aren't Netflix or housework.

I remember the, by now, lumpen alien thing in the corner of the kitchen. Green little sprouts have formed from the smooth surface of the misshapen brown egg and I decide to plant her in the bucket and see what comes next.

Having lived my life in flats, my grandmother's garden was really the only chance I had to see how things were grown and tended. She had a rhubarb patch in the back garden and rose bushes in the front. There was always mint growing and she took great pride in the lilac trees that lined the back fence.

I regularly drive past my gran's house and was livid recently to see that the new owners have chopped down the lilacs, decades of care thoughtlessly felled.

In my flat, now, I have three pot plants but a potato was uncharted territory. Very rapidly a pointy green nose began to poke from the top of the soil. My morning routine now revolved around a peek into the bucket to see what was happening next. A morning cuppa became a pot so there was enough to share with Tater.

And yes, I know the tea thing is an old wives tale but those of us living alone in lockdown must take our comforts where we can.

The speed at which Tater shot forth from the soil was quite something, I could almost see her growing.

Unassuming, an under appreciated staple, the potato alleviated famine in Europe, changed the course of modern agriculture and is credited for the rise of the west. Impressed by their blossoms, Marie Antoinette is said to have worn them in her hair while Louis XVI threaded them through his buttonhole.

I have eaten potatoes in the Andes mountains in Peru, where the tuber originated. I have driven over the Hoover Dam in an Idaho plate vehicle displaying the state motto: Famous Potatoes. I have eaten a potato cooked in a hāngī in New Zealand.

And here in a bucket in my living room is my favourite spud so far.

I'm worried Tater isn't getting enough sunlight but I'm also afraid someone might interfere if I leave her outside unattended. With heart heavy at the loss of our shared morning cuppa, I take the bucket and the fast growing contents to the allotment where the fresh air and sunshine sends her star-shaped leaves shooting into a constellation of dense green.

Of course, being regularly at the allotment, it would be rude not to make myself useful. Suddenly I'm weeding, planting runner beans and onions, tucking zucchini plants into compost.

I am itching each day to get to the plot to see how my garlic cloves are growing and check on Tater. Truly you never know where life will lead you.

It's amazing to me that no one has invented see through soil. This is torture, knowing all the good stuff is happening underground and we can't see it. What's in the bucket? How many tubers are down there?

This must be what pregnancy is like: some outward signs of new life flourishing but all the best bits happening out of sight.

Finally Tater's leaves are turning yellow and her stalks spilling over the edge of the bucket. It is her time.

"It's like digging for buried treasure," I say as I wriggle the soil around. Well. My careful ministrations have resulted in... are you ready... 16 potatoes.

I send a photograph to my friend. "Very impressive," he replies, "Not award winning but very good." Not award winning? I have an absorbing new hobby and it's edible. In what way is that not a prize?