Pennard Plants Potato Days are in full swing in the South West. I went to one recently and have already selected my seed potatoes.
Entering the village hall, there was a hallowed hush despite it being quite busy. Clutching a handful of brown paper bags and a pen, I joined the back of an orderly shuffle around the tables, peering into the brightly coloured buckets, staring eye to eye with an assortment of different sized, shaped and coloured spuds.
With so many varieties to choose from, accompanied by detailed descriptions and enchanting names, it felt like picking a horse at the races. Just a lot quieter. My heart started beating a little too fast. I was having a flutter.
I concluded that an expert studying ‘the form’ would probably do as well as that first-time-lucky gambler, the one whose punt was purely based on the colour of the silks and a name they liked the sound of.
What am I? Expert or gambler? Here’s my bets, so I’ll let you guess 🙂
Blue Danube, Epicure, Maris Peer, Belle de Fontenay, Salad Blue
The cost? 23p each.
The next Potato Day is tomorrow, in Frome. Spend Valentine’s Day choosing potatoes? What’s not to love?
IF you’ve got better things to do (I can’t think what) here’s Pennard’s list of the remaining Potato Days, including two days (16&17th Feb) at the RHS Spring Fair in London, for all you city folk. I’ve just noticed that Chris from Pennard Plants will also be doing a talk there on “How to Select Potatoes”. Damn.
Here’s my potatoes, in LABELLED egg boxes (so I don’t forget which ones are which) lined up on the windowsill next to my desk. Here, the light and warmth will help them ‘chit’, their beady ‘eyes’ sprouting little growths, which gives them a head-start once ready to plant in a few weeks time. And they’ll keep me company while I type.
I’m going to be growing my potatoes in grow-sacks again this year. I found they were incredibly easy to grow this way. No laborious digging, no earthing-up. No slug damage. Simple and mud-free to harvest, with plenty of clean and healthy potatoes. You just need to water them. Lots.
Additionally, if you are short on space, the sacks can be moved around to suit whatever else you are growing, and then removed when emptied. They can be used the screen young plants from the wind. Efficient. Tidy.
The ‘cheap as chips’ sacks I used last year were not particularly attractive (a sort of sludgy orange). Then my dad’s over-enthusiasm with a strimmer lacerated their sides, and finally their handles ripped out. So I am absolutely delighted to have received 9 much stronger and more natural looking sacks from Marshalls. At £7.95 for three they seem excellent value. They’ve got really strong webbing handles. And, as they are square, I can see they are going to be more efficient on space than the round ones. Marshalls also sell them for £9.95 with potatoes supplied… If you are in a procrastinating dither about varieties, just Go For It!
What potato varieties are you growing this year? Ever had a Valentine date with a potato? Any experience with the varieties I’ve chosen?