|We were filmed by the BBC on Sunday. Zia, in her nervousness, forgot to get her wellies on. She doesn’t always garden in Kurt Geiger heels! Watch us next Sunday on BBC breakfast news talking about potatoes and Pop ups!|
The Secret Garden Club met on Sunday February 26th to discuss potatoes – including a look at heritage varieties, some tips on growing in restricted space and how to raise a successful crop out in the open ground. The afternoon began with a potato vodka cocktail garnished with potato crisps before moving out into the garden.
|I’m afraid I drank it before I could take the picture! But revelation! Potato vodka is soo much smoother than grain vodka. I bought Chase, the only potato vodka available in the UK.|
|Clockwise from top right: Golden wonder, Orla, Salad Blue, Highland Burgundy, Mayan Gold, Pink Fir apple (centre left).|
- Highland Burgundy – a close relative of ancient South American potatoes, but this particular strain was probably cultivated around 80 years ago.
- Mayan Gold – these have been bred specifically in Scotland from an ancient Peruvian potato, Solanum phureja.
- Salad Blue – the deep blue colour comes from anthocyanins in the flesh. Bred by the Victorians in Scotland
- Golden Wonder – a very floury maincrop potato. Great for baking and chips … and used to make potato crisps!
- Pink Fir Apple – originally imported into Britain in 1850 and bred for its fine flavour. Unusually, it’s a maincrop potato which boils well and is great for salads.
|Here they are cut up: amazing colours!|
- First early potatoes produce usable tubers in 100-110 days after planting;
- Second earlies in 110-120 days;
- Early maincrops after 120-125 days;
- Maincrops produce tubers after 125-140 days.
|Growing in a container|
- Less hard work – no digging;
- Portability 1 – if you get a bad weather warning (eg, frost) when the plants are young and tender, you can move them indoors/under cover;
- Portability 2 – you can place the bags more or less wherever you like.
- Less risk of disease – your purpose-bought compost shouldn’t be harbouring blight spores, eelworms or any other nasties;
- You don’t need to dig out the potatoes with a fork or spade, so there is little or no chance of damaging the spuds when harvesting;
- Gardeners often miss very small potatoes and leave them in the ground over winter. By growing them in a bag you can ensure you harvest your entire crop.
|Yup, see them little roots… they go upwards, those will be the shoots growing above the ground to grab some sunlight for the plant.|
- You will get higher yields, ie, more potatoes, from a plant grown in a proper bed.
- They need less looking after – no fiddling around with bags.
- A potato bed is more attractive than having plastic compost sacks around the place.
- You have to dig a trench. You add organic matter, or fertiliser, maybe.
- You earth up several times.
- You dig deep again to harvest the potatoes.
- Wireworms, slugs
- Frost damage