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
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.
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:
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.