Potatoes 2016

I thought I’d write short reviews of the crops I grew this year and ideas of what i want to do differently next year. So I’ll start with the potatoes I harvested a few weekends ago.

They were Sarpo Mira, bought at HEOG‘s potato day back in February

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I’ve never grown maincrops before because of the blight problems that usually destroy the crop, but Sarpo are blight resistant, so I thought I’d give it a go. I usually grow just one bed of earlies because I only want a few home-grown spuds – decent organic ones are commonly available in the shops and not overly expensive. I did miss digging up afew salad spuds in the height of the summer so am thinking about growing earlies in a pot next year – a whole bed of them is too many and lots get wasted.

So I planted them on 10th April, not very deeply, in a bed that had had my home-made compost added. Then I mulched with straw and added more straw as the haulms appeared.

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They resisted the blight pretty well, but did succumb in the end. So I cut off the dying haulms and put them in the green waste bin for the council’s hot compost heap to take care of. Then I left the tubers in the ground for about 4 weeks – I can’t remember how long I used to advise people to leave them. If you do this the spores from the haulms end up in the straw and on the soil surface.  After a number of weeks, with no potatoes to live on, the spores die and you can safely lift the tubers through the soil and straw and they won’t get blighted. I am really pleased with the crop – all these from 18 tubers in a 6′ x 4′ bed:

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They’re now in a large brown paper bag (upcycled chicken feed bag) in the (newly tidy) garage. Hopefully, they don’t have blight and will keep well for a few months, as we don’t eat lots of spuds. They’re rather waxy so will probably make good roast potatoes. There are quite a few lovely big ones for baking, although floury spuds are tastier that way.

So, for 2017, yes, I’ll grow maincrops again, but only blight resistant varieties. And a few earlies in a container for summer salads.

Local folk may want to know that HEOG‘s 2017 potato day is planned for 4th February 2017, 10am – 2pm, Kenilworth Senior Citizens’ Club CV8 1QJ.

 

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