25 September 2013

This year's spuds

I've finished digging up the last few rows of potatoes.To start with there were nine rows with an average of eight tubers in each row. I think I got carried away after my visit to Madeira where potato growing is a bit of an art form.
To try to counter possible late blight I cut off the haulms of the 2nd early and main crop varieties and then left the tubers in the ground.This seems to have worked well against the blight but has resulted in some varieties not fully maturing and a feast for slugs and wire worms.

I started off with Orla in late June.They were my joint equal best variety, with a fabulous new potato taste. Some of them were quite large given that they'd only been in the ground for just over 11 weeks. The first ones dug up in the dry spell had quite a lot of common scab but they cleaned up nicely.There was less scab  after it started raining in July.

The Belle de Fontenay flattered to deceive.They looked good but had a disappointing flavour.
The Sharpe's Express were more like a slow goods train. Partly my fault for removing the haulms too early which resulted in stunted tubers which were bland tasting.

In contrast ,the Salad Blue were another fabulous tasting variety although the slugs and eel worm seem to hate them.Quite a lot of brown scab on the surface but very clean when peeled.
I got quite hooked on these.
Salad Blue

Saxon were a major disappointment.Well developed tubers ,but when I dug them up they all felt lightweight relative to their size. The slug and eel worm damage was obvious on some of them but on others the only outward sign was a small entrance hole which then revealed a maze of tunnels when the potato was cut in half.Yuk.

The last two types dug up recently have been better. Harlequin are a kidney variety that cropped well and I've still been able to get a decent number even after sifting out the very small ones and any with pest damage.They look like salad potatoes but are quite flowery when cooked.Quite a nice flavour.
 Romano were an afterthought on my return from Madeira when I decided that I needed to grow more spuds.I'm quite pleased with the results.Although there are only a few tubers from each plant they are a decent size ,with relatively little pest damage ,good looking ,and have a good flavour.
 I'll certainly try to grow Orla ,Salad Blue and perhaps Romano again next year.I'm looking out for other varieties with coloured flesh as it seems to ward off pests.Apparently there's a Salad Red type?

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