Monday, January 30

Something new for 2017 - part 4 potatoes

Martyn posted here that we had bought our seed potatoes from our favourite local garden centre. In part it is, Martyn's favourite as when we visit he has the excuse to pop into their excellent coffee shop and enjoy a latte and cake.

The varieties that we chose for our main planting area were ones that we have grown before and were selected on the basis of yield, flavour and disease and pest resistance. We chose seven varieties. Four are varieties that have done well for us in the past - Kestrel, Nadine, Winston and Casablanca. The other three - Orla, Amour and Vivaldi - came through last year's trial of new, (to us) varieties.
One variety, Vivaldi did appear to be a slug magnet but managed to make the final list purely on taste. Maybe this year the slugs will find it less attractive. These seed potatoes have been store in the dark in the garage as we don't want them to start shooting just yet.

We have selected six varieties for this year's trial bed and have bought four tubers each of, Rooster, Osprey, Innovator, Isle of Jura, Saxon and Cara. All, except Cara which we grew a few years ago, are new to us. If any of these perform really well they may oust one of this year's main varieties.

As these varieties already had small shoots they have been set out to chit in the summerhouse. Martyn put together a short video here.
It's always tricky recommending potato varieties as the way they perform is affected by so many variables. Soil - even in different areas of the plot, prevalence of pests and diseases, weather and even the microclimate of a bed all affect the yield and even the taste of the crop. We may find that a variety does really well one year only to disappoint the next. This is one reason that we grow a selection of varieties. Another is that varieties have differing cooking properties. Some make good mash whereas others are good for roasting, baking or chipping etc.

Conflicting opinions about a variety can be confusing but understandable, if you take into account the above reasons, so you need to find a variety that does well for you and the conditions that your growing area can provide.

Just out of interest what variety of potato will you grow and what type of soil and conditions can they expect to grow in. Of course what the weather may throw their way is a mystery to us all.


20 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I'll be growing potatoes at all this year, perhaps just a couple of containers as I can never resist that first taste of the year.

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    1. You can't beat those first early pickings, can you, Jo?

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  2. You do look after Martyn!
    Is you cooking as excellent as your writing?

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    1. We both cook, Roger. How well we perform is for others to judge but we do our best.

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  3. This year Pink Fir Apple has dropped off my list, because over the last 3 or 4 years I think it has deteriorated. It now seems much less tasty, and the flesh is very dry - verging on hard. The tubers are seldom as knobbly either. On the other hand I have got some Belle de Fontenay this time, which I have been unable to get at my local Potato Day for the last two years. I'm still worrying about what compost I am going to grow mine in, due to previous contamination problems!

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    1. Belle de Fontenay didn't do well for us when we grew them some time ago, Mark It may have been a slug issue but as it was quite a wnile ago we can't remember. Choosing compost is a minefield nowadays.

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  4. I see that you have great plans and perfect knowledge on the cultivation of potatoes !!
    Good luck !
    Greetings

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    1. Plans yes but now sure about the great knowledge, Ela.

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  5. Down at the allotments my plot neighbour swears by Nadine and (I think) Cara. He's tried many and those worked for him. I've got in a tangle with the labelling in the past and haven't really known which one was which. International Kidney did quite nicely in pots although the harvest wasn't huge.

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    1. We tried International Kidney based on it being the Jersey Royals seed, CJ but it didn't do well for us in the taste test. Maybe our clay soil didn't suit it.

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  6. Our varieties are completely different than yours, but then again, it may be that they just have different names over on your side of "the pond".
    I always grown Yukon Gold and Red Pontiac and Russet bakers. I also put in a small patch of something new--last year German Butterball, which was nice but HORRIBLE to peel after cooking and too small!

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    1. I've just Googled your varieties, Sue and they are available in the UK at least online. Must admit that we do sometimes eat boiled potatoes with the skin on.

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  7. Due to slugs I stopped growing potatoes. Besides, I have limited space and can buy good quality locally grown ones quite cheaply so prefer to use my space for other things.
    The only time we didn't have a slug problem was when we regularly took our trailer down to the local harbour after a storm and filled it {backbreakingly} with seaweed and dug it in {more backbreaking!}

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    1. We probably wouldn't grow potatoes if we didn't have plenty of space, Deborah.

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  8. We have grown Casablanca for two years on daughter Mary's allotment due to its resistance to eelworm which is present in the soil there. I don't think we will grow any this year the badgers dug them all up, last year, and ate them while we were away on holiday. Because of the damage they do we did consider giving its up, but have decided to just concentrate on the soft fruit and cutting flowers. PS. Thy have also dug up some of the tulip bulbs I planted in November!!

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    1. The downside of a wildlife rich environment, Brian. We really liked the taste of Casablanca

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  9. You have some good varieties there! I haven't decided what to grow this year, all last years varieties did well, especially King Edward.xxx

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    1. There's so much to choose from isn't there, Dina

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  10. My money is on the Rooster! A great baker/masher. (Home grown Cara are so different from the supermarket ones and not a bad all rounder)

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    1. The info that I read about Rooster made it sound good, Mal.

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