Saturday, November 26

We don't put all our eggs (potatoes) in one basket.

This year we grew eleven varieties if potatoes. It sounds a lot more potatoes than it is as we only had five seed potatoes of six of the varieties. A local garden centre held their version of a potato day and we had the opportunity to just try a few varieties that were new to us. This way if there were any that we didn't like we wouldn't have wasted too much space on the plot and time. On the other hand if we liked a variety we could add it to our main list next year. As it happened both these scenarios occurred but more of that later.
Our main choice varieties were supplied in 2.5kg packs which have between about 25 - 35 seed potatoes depending on size.  Usually we use up the small seed potatoes by planting two to a hole.
Our choice of early potato was Casablanca. This was the only variety not to be planted through weed control fabric. The tubers were planted with a trowel and earthed up in the usual way. As roots of the early potatoes are dug as needed before the tops have died back the use of weed control fabric would make harvested more of a problem.
As you can see from the above chart in spite of being an early variety, Casablanca was our best cropper. It produced a good harvest last year too and it also scored highly on the taste test. It easily earned its place in next year's list.

We planted up the trial potatoes in one bed and the rest of the varieties were planted in two large beds. All were planted through weed control fabric.
Although it would appear that the variety grown without wcf fared best, this is just a coincidence. Last year we did a controlled test and found that the potato harvests were not affected by the use of wcf.

To compare the yields I multiplied the yield from the trial potatoes by five. Of the trial varieties Amour produced an excellent crop and had hardly any damage to the potatoes.

Martyn's comment after lifting the Blue Belle harvest was that it was hardly worth digging up. This is one that will definitely not feature on next year's list.

Orla produced a good crop which had little slug damage and Setanta a red skinned variety performed similarly.

Valor produced an excellent crop but the potatoes were badly affected by wireworm damage.

Vivaldi produced a crop comparable to Kestrel and the potatoes had little slug damage and it also impressed in the taste test. Kestrel too was almost completely free of any slug damage.

We were not impressed by Vales Sovereign. The crop was very badly affected by blight so to all intents and purposes was a failed crop. Nadine which was growing alongside Sovereign was completely damage free and produced an OK crop. Last year Nadine only had minor slug damage so seems to be a reliable choice but Vales Sovereign is definitely off next year's list.

Winston was on a par with Setanta and Orla cropping wise. Last year Winston was badly affected by early blight but escaped this year. The variety was given a second chance on the grounds of its taste.

It's always difficult to recommend varieties of potatoes as the taste and performance varies according to soil and the conditions that prevail during the season so the above are only meant to describe how things went for us. 

We will be looking out for potato day again so we can try more different varieties. Anyone else trying something new or are you sticking to tried and tested?

24 comments:

  1. Interesting to see the many varieties you plant. Not a one of them is recognizable to me here. I wonder if they just have different names in different countries or are they completely different varieties......

    I have two basic varieties I grow every year-Yukon Gem and Red Pontiac. I also try a new variety every year. This year was German Butterball. Loved the name, but not the potato. The search continues (which is half the fun of gardening!)

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    1. I often wonder the same thing, Sue. Not just about potatoes either as I had never heard of many of the tomatoes that the grown in the US. I don't think the varieties that you have named are available here either.

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  2. I think the way you have done it this year is the best way - smallish quantities of lots of different varieties. They perform differently every year, according to the weather conditions - and in may case according to what compost I use in the containers.

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    1. We try and grow different varieties of a few things, Mark for just that reason. We have found some potato varieties do quite well every year and others are much more fussy.

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  3. I stuck with the varieties I grew last year but it was a bad potato year - much too hot - so none did particularly well. I would love to try one or two new ones next year but my space is limited (I've only allocated one bed to them) and none of the varieties I grew had issues that were big enough to warrant getting rid of them altogether, so I'll have to think on it.

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    1. We certainly can't claim that the heat had anything to do with any of the vegetables performing badly, Margaret other than maybe lack of heat.

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  4. I love to eat potatoes! Those with the red skins are really tasty !!
    Happy weekend !

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    1. It is always quite surprisingly to me that potatoes taste so different depending on their variety, Ela. Hope you have a good week too.

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  5. You always impress me with your scientific way of gardening. You always know just how much you harvest and from what. I'm lucky if I can get my stuff labeled. Sometimes I have to put a photo on my blog so somebody can help me identify what the heck I planted. I do use your posts to plan for next season. Thanks for the info.

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    1. Martyn is the scientific one, Bonnie. He does most of the weighing and recording. I am the one who then does the collating and comparisons. Maybe that is because he studied sciences and I was more on the arts side, although over the years some of each aspect is rubbing off on the other.

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  6. I stopped growing potatoes as I got fed up feeding the slugs! Also, as they are quite space consuming I'd rather try to grow things that are not so readily available. I wish I had your patience to do all the comparisons and hope to select some of the things you recommend for next year.

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    1. We have plenty of space, Deborah so we don't really have to make those sort of decisions.

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  7. Your crop is impressive Sue. I love potatoes and planted some seed potatoes but the crop was not big, ha ha.
    I love most potato with red skin.

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    1. People do seem to like red skinned potatoes, Nadezda.

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  8. Hi Sue, just been trying to catch up but far too much to comment all of the posts so just sticking to the latest. You certainly did well with your spuds. The only ones I've ever grown out of all those is Nadine but they weren't my favourite. I had a good crop of new potatoes this year...the main crop are still in the ground and it's so wet now I'm not sure I'll get them out!!
    I like your tip about putting two to a hole for the smaller potatoes...I will remember this for next year.

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    1. Maybe you could get a few up to see if they are usable, Tanya

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  9. I want to make a trial growing potatoes like as you. It seems so interesting

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    1. We will need to choose some different ones for next year, Endah.

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  10. That's a lot of varieties! Have you decided on next planting variety? Happy harvesting potatoes Sue!

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    1. We haven't decided yet, Malar but Casablanca will be on the list

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  11. What choice! Such an interesting trial!xxx

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  12. That is a lot of potatoes do you eat them all?! How did they compare taste-wise too?

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    1. We supply my sister too, Annie but not many are wasted.Our favourite for taste were Casablance and Winston but none would be rejected on taste grounds.

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