Allotment Update No. 11

2011 February 18
by Chris Vernon

Follow the allotment series here.

No more photos of muddy fields today! Last weekend we went to the Somerset Potato Day, in Pylle. It was an amazing event, around a hundred different varieties of potato, sold by the tuber. Rather like a muddy pick ‘n’ mix! It was also extremely busy. The choice was somewhat bewildering so we decided to limit ourselves to ten tubers of just five different varieties, making sure we got a spread from 1st early to late maincrop. Here’s what we ended up with:

Foremost 1st Early
Waxy flesh. When first added to the national list in 1954 it was Suttons Foremost and an instant hit with gardeners who liked its excellent flavour and resistance to disintegration when boiling. Good common scab resistance. Short to oval in shape with white skin and waxy white flesh.
Use: Salad, Bake, Boil, Roast.

Roseval 2nd Early
Salad, smooth, deep red skinned with yellow flesh salad variety, sometimes with a pink flush. The flesh is waxy with a truly suburb flavour. Excellent for salad use, hot or cold. A very pretty variety, good cooking quality. Popular in France, rare in UK.

Sarpo Shona Early Maincrop
Short growing, weed smothering, slightly oval shaped early maincrop with white skin, creamy flesh and shallow eyes, plus a great resistance to blight.

Pink Fir Apple Late Maincrop
Waxy flesh, good flavour. Just brush off under the tap and steam in its skin, don’t worry if bits break off them, cook them all. It does tend to wander so make sure to dig up all the tubers.
Recommend use: Boil, Salad.

Kerrs Pink Late Maincrop
Floury flesh. Raised in Scotland by James Henry, very vigorous foliage, the age shows in the deep eyes and good flavour. Recommend use: Chip, Mash, Roast.

Seed Potatoes

Seed Potatoes, 18th Feb 2011

Before planning potatoes must be chitted. This is just allowing them to sprout before planting and what we started today. It’s recommended to allow around six weeks for chitting. Each potato has one end a little more rounded or blunt with a few ‘eyes’. We stand them, this blunt end uppermost, in egg boxes or similar, in a cool and light place. Our loft with its skylights seems ideal. Once the shoots are 0.5-1 inches long they are ready to plant. This should be around the last week of March.

1st earlies should be ready after around 10 weeks and the maincrop more like 20. Fingers crossed for mid June!

Seed Potatoes

Seed Potatoes, 18th Feb 2011

Seed Potato Catalogue

Seed Potato Catalogue

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