Which potatos should I grow?

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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sue-the-recycler
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Which potatos should I grow?

Postby sue-the-recycler » Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:29 pm

Hi folks
Despite being a veteran of the veg plot I have never - no never - grown potatoes, always seems such a lot of effort compared to carrying them home from the market :) However, Having seen the article in this months KG, and having been given hundreds of the black plastic pots they use in supermarkets to display cut flowers I thought I'd give it a shot. So from the scarily large choice on offer - which 3 types should a novice like me have a go at? We tend to use spuds for roasting or have new potatoes hot or cold. We dont do chips or mash much. My soil is a v.alkaline clay although as I'm using the pot method I guess I can mix it with other stuff
Any suggestions?
Cheers
Sue
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Postby Geoff » Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:12 pm

Second eary Charlotte are an unbelievable flavour if you like waxy salad potatoes. Also roast and chip really well and even keep despite being second earlies, used our last just before Christmas.
I grow Rocket for the speed (sorry about that) as first earlies. They do have the new potato taste but others might suggest something more special.
Don't believe the silly prices for seed in the magazine, shop around. I paid £1.95 or less for 3Kgs last year. I'll be buying in my Garden Centre's January Sale in a couple of weeks when everything is reduced and you get an extra 10% when you spend over £100 so I stock up with fertiliser, lime, first batch of compost, seed potatoes, etc at this time.
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Postby Chantal » Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:46 pm

Ryton Organic Gardens here in Warwickshire have a Potato Day on 29 January and I know there are others taking place around the country. You can buy anything from one tuber upwards of hundreds of varieties so you could try a different variety in each pot! They also have talks and all sorts of ancillary products to do with potatoes.

Personally I love Desiree and Pink Fir Apple although I also plan to grow International Kidney (Jersey Royal) and Marfona this year.

Chantal :D
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Postby JazzDuke » Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:16 pm

Following on the theme, I will also be growing potatoes for the first time. I have plenty of concrete but no garden so it's pots for me. I liked the look of the potato barrels but cannot believe the price (for just a few bits of corrugated plastic) so I plan to use polypots.

Question 1 is, what size? KG said about 9 litre but I have a catalogue which says the 17 and 50 litre sizes are suitable/ideal for potatoes. (In a 9 litre pot do you really plant 2 inches from the bottom, isn't that a lot of compost to grow through?)

Question 2, how many tubers per pot?

Question 3, assuming I am growing small potatoes for 'new' boiled or waxy salad use, how many potatoes/pounds will I get per tuber (answers to the nearest whole potato or ounce please :wink: )

My first post here, so thanks in advance for an encouraging response.

JD
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Postby nog » Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:55 pm

My Tattie tips..

1. Kestral...Great slug resistance good for everything: Mash, Roast, Boil. They get better the longer you store them.
2. Patio Potato growing....
Go to supermarket and buy a pack of organic new potatoes that are on their sell by date....got mine for 10p.
Buy a 80lit bag of potting compost.
Slit the top and empty out the compost.
Turn the bag inside out(so the black side is out) and roll down the bag.
Chit the potatoes (keep them till they grow eyes). Put 4 of the potatoes in the bottom of the bag.
Cover the potatoes with compost.
As the tops grow cover with compost.
When the bag is full use it like a lucky dip and dig out a hand full as you need them.
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Postby JazzDuke » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:51 pm

Thanks Nog, now for some more really novice-y questions,

1. Put drainage holes in the bag?
2. Water much?
3. Absolutely cover the growing tips?
4. Presumably when bag is full you let the plant grow for a while?
5. How do I know when the potatoes will be at their optimum to pick?
6. Is the compost re-usable or spent?

JD
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Chris
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Postby Chris » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:56 pm

Hi Sue

I always grow new potatoes and have tried many varieties both in the ground and in pots. It is one of the highlights of the year to lift the first ones - like burried treasure.

1. Varieties - I like waxy new potatoes and last year the Pink Fir Apple and Charlotte were excellent. Red Duke of York were also good but only when small. My friend has had good success with King Edward lifted early as a new potato. Rocket is good for the earlist tattie in pots in a tunnel.

2. Pots - 9 litre is about right. I've learned that one seed potao per pot is the best. Certainly if you are going to use ex-flower display pots one will be enough and you will need to provide plenty of nutrients (e.g. well rotted manure in the bottom) and water copiously every day.

3. Location - I would try them in your soil - just add huge ammounts of manure/compost to the bottom of the trench and plant on this. Basically they will grow anywhere - I've been pleased with the results from spare seed potaoes stuck in the top of a compost heap in heavy shade. This year I planted very shrunken Pink Fir Apple seed potatoes in a pot in August which, in a greenhouse produced some delicious but small tatties for Christmas diner (next year I will plant earlier).

Good luck whatever you decide to do
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sue-the-recycler
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Postby sue-the-recycler » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:04 pm

What a cool idea Chantal! I never thought about growing a different one in each pot. Do you know of any of these potato days in the North Staffs/North Shropshire/South Cheshire area? If not - is anyone going to one who could maybe get a 'lucky dip' bag for me and I'll arrange payment and pay for postage?
Or am I getting carried away - should I stick to a fixed number :? Charlotte and Pink Fir apple (thats got to be worth growing just cos its got such a fabby name!)seem to be the popular choice
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Postby Chantal » Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:49 am

Sue, I've found the list of Potato Days on google, go to http://www.hhdra.org.uk/potatodays/ and you may find something to suit you.

Otherwise, I'm going to the Ryton Potato Day so I'll pick some up and post them for you if you like. If you have any preferences let me know, otherwise just quantity really. Just let me know.

Chantal :D
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Postby Gardening Girl » Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:17 am

Hi

I too would recommend Pink Fir Apple, though some say it's overrated. It's a maincrop but looks, cooks and tastes like a new potato, and stores extremely well (not sprouting as readily as others). I served some to enthusiastic guests last night for dinner - taties dug up in September, still in perfect condition, and on past experience will be for months to come.

I have just kept my own to use as seed from year to year and so far no problems.

GG
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Postby sandersj89 » Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:38 pm

The best late main crop I have ever grown, and have now grown it for a number of years, is Aran Victory. It makes the best roast spud .

Excellent flavour with fluffy insides and great crispy/crunchy skins.

I will be growing them yet again this year.

Jerry
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potato varieties
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Postby potato varieties » Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:34 am

Potatoe varieties
- Red Duke of York - early - brilliant tasting
- Try Anya instead of Pink Fir Apple. It's still nutty but has slightly less bumps and is more disease resistant.
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Postby Lisa » Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:14 am

Oh so many varieties, how hard it is to narrow it down. I've had to be tough with myself this year, so I'm only growing 12 varieties this time... :roll: :lol:

Earlies:

As well as growing in the ground I've grown earlies in pots, either in an unheated greehouse, or outside under fleece to protect from frost, to get the earliest spuds possible... My favs are:

1 Lady Christl for new potatoes. I found it early and healthy.

2 Red Duke of York. I found them more like a new potato if you dig em up early and better for roasting if you let them grow more.

2nd Earlies:

3 Anya for new potatoes

4 Kestrel as a general potato

5 Edzell Blue for mash (though better steamed than boiled, as it does fall to bits given half a chance).

Main crops:

6 Belle de Fontenay for new potatoes (I read they improve in flavour with storage, but they never seem to last long enough to find out)

7 Nicola (new potatoes / summer baker)

8 Rooster (well I've got chickens, so how could I resist this one :lol: ) Baker / fry / general purpose.

9 Sarpo Axona - very new variety, not tried it before, but marketed as combining very high disease resistence with excellent flavour for all round use.

10 Valor - high yielding, disease resistence all rounder.

11 Lady Balfour - boiling / general purpose, named after the Soil Association founder. High disease resistence and therefore good for organic growing (another I've not tried before but sounds great).

12 Pink Fir Apple - late cropping salad type knobbly finger potato. IMO worth the wait and the hassle of the knobbly bits. Good for storage - Anya is less knobbly, but I don't know if it would store as well? Now I just have to make sure I grow enough Pink Fir Apple so they last long enough to have some to store!!)

I have been to Potato day at the HDRA a few times. It was great, but it is so popular I found it gets really, really busy. On the plus side they have talks too. One year I went they were also selling a few of the more unusual varietes as eating potatoes, so you could try them at home before deciding if to grow them or not the following year. Another year they were selling some very unusual microplants. Don't know what else they'll have this year.

Many garden centres are now realising that the public want to buy potatoes in smaller quantities. Buckingham Garden Centre had over 30 varieties last year (not been yet this year, but I assume they'll have them again). They sold them by weight.

But Charlton Park Garden Centre, Wantage, Oxfordshire is my favourite. There is a potato event linked to them, the same weekend as the HDRA one, but it is in Whitchurch, Hampshire. Afterwards the seed potatoes are still available, by the tuber, in the garden centre and I've always managed to get what I want. No crowds and you can take your time choosing. Its potato heaven for me :lol:

Might just be worth asking around where you are. I have bought them for people before and posted on - but they are heavy and the postage ended up costing much more than the spuds (didn't help that they'd already sprouted and they had to be wrapped up very carefully to protect the sprouts :? ) This year my brother and FIL can buy their own :oops:
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Postby haggis » Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:01 pm

Sue

I think that it really depends on your preference in taste. I seem to remember an article in KG some time ago (by Alan Romans maybe?) when he was discussing the difference between floury and waxy potatoes. They really are poles apart and there are all sorts in between. Some of the seed catalogues rate "dryness" so you can get an idea if you haven't tasted before. One of the reasons I like to grow my own potatoes is that I can choose varieties which I like the taste of and which are not really available in the supermarkets. I tend to grow the same varieties most years but always try to sow half a dozen tubers of something new to try out (Kestrel came on to my favourites list that way). My local garden centre is great - they stock about 60 varieties and make up small packs of some varieties so that you can try them out without buying a large bag. Hope you have fun trying lots of varieties.

Haggis
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Postby kijomi » Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:49 am

i TRIED SOME LAST YEAR WITH MIXED RESULTS. Nobody liked red duke in the family;but swift became a favorite. Pity my hubby used my seed potatoes for dinner. Anya was a mixed succes, they were a free extra and just got plonged in, they were small but tasty! I boiled them with the peel and spent motr than an hour peeling and then my hubby came home and started eating them like candy! My maincrop were sarpo mira, good leaves good crop average taste. They have one problem the ones we eat now have sometimes black spots inside, a problem I have never seen before1
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