Potato growing for beginners - growing stars for the plate.•
Posted on 21 May 2018
When I went to Ecuador they had over 200 varieties of potato in use and all of the ones I tasted were subtly different from each other. Not a big deal? Maybe, but actually could you tell a supermarket King Edward from a Maris Piper by taste alone? I certainly couldn't so finding actual distinct taste in potatoes was a revelation.
They went from 'side' to 'star' on my plate. Most of all they tasted delicious. So my mission now is to grow my own in the hope of getting some of that flavour onto my plate. I started late - toward the end of April - when it was unseasonably cold still. I bought everything I needed
- first early seed potatoes
- veggie compost (could have gone multipurpose but on a mission to get it right)
- Haxnicks Vigoroot Potato Planters (could have used compost sacks but who wants to look at those in their garden all summer?)
To chit or not to chit...
Then I ran into my first challenge: to chit or not to chit. The Jury is out. Monty Don, who was starting a trial in the Vigoroot Potato Planter at the same time as me said "No!" whilst lots of others said "you MUST". So I decided I would (sorry Monty) but with a time limit. They had until the end of April then it was time to plant. On my north facing windowsill they grew into nice little characters - seemed a shame to plant them.
How many potatoes to plant?
Reluctant to leave any of them that had made the effort to chit, I planted 3 per pot. Again, against Monty Don's Gardeners World advice as he only suggested 2. But as I am mainly looking for small salad potatoes I figured that 3 would be OK. A little water then a nice sunny position next to the tulips and I was done.
I didn't have to wait long before I saw the first luscious green leaves coming through.
Potato plants begin to appear
Just a few weeks later and the are starting to fill the planter.
The plants start to grow
The next stage was to earth them up. Not sure if this is a must but it seems that everyone does it so I covered the carefully grown leaves with soil. it seemed wrong when they had spent the time pushing their way out but I am assured that this will give a great crop. Now I am waiting again. Waiting, watering and wondering what I might make with them.
Chip them, stew them, fry them, deep fry them even triple cook them. Or just boil and serve warm with melted butter dripping off them. I still have time to choose a recipe from our friends at The Tasty Potato to make the most of what I hope will be a bumper crop!
Potatoes by evening light
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