Ah, the spud. Probably the most popular vegetable in the country. Certainly the most versatile. Never ever under-rated in my house. During periods of intense time-killing with friends as a teenager, I remember we would pose hypothetical questions to each other. If you had to snog Jimmy Nail or Mick Hucknall, who would it be? What’s your favourite song from Dirty Dancing? And so on. Wait, I’m getting to the point….. ‘if you could only eat one thing forever, what would it be?’ For me, the answer was easy: the potato (followed closely by fish which was accepted unchallenged as 1 type of food, happily leaving me with a lot of options for dining should this scenario ever arise).
As a grower, I am ambivalent about the potato. On the plus side home-grown potatoes:
- allow you to try varieties that would never make it to farmers’ markets, let alone supermarkets
- are very easy to grow
- taste delicious
On the downside of growing spuds, they:
- take up a lot of room on the plot
- are more vulnerable to disease than many other veg (I am mainly, thought not exclusively talking about blight which spreads across an allotment like an Australian wildfire)
OK, so there are more pros than cons, which is a good thing I suppose. This year, I had decided not to bother, having got a very wide selection of other veg to grow. However, whilst down the plot today, putting in Peas and Beetroot, the local maverick plotholder Mikalo paid me a hello (I may give Mikalo more coverage later, he is a character that certainly deserves it, but for now back to spuds) and donated 4 different varieties of spuds to me, leftover from his sowing. They were all nicely chitted and much happier to make their home in my plot than get put into the compost.
- International Kidney (second early or early maincrop). I had never heard of this one, but having googled it, I think I’m going to be in for a treat.
- Thomson Morgan says: A heritage variety that has stood the test of time. If harvested as a second early, ‘International Kidney’ makes a perfect, very waxy, salad potato. Harvested later as an early maincrop, it produces floury, large, general purpose tubers. Height and spread: 60cm (24″).
2. Nadine (second early)
- JBA Seed Potatoes says: Nadine seed potatoes are one of the most successful varieties introduced around 1987 by famous potato breeder, Jack Dunnett. Nadine tubers are round in shape with a clean white skin and cream coloured flesh
3. Charlotte (second early) *
- Love Potatoes says: A classic salad potato and widely available across all major retailers. With a creamy skin and light yellow flesh, they are relatively small potatoes.
4. Maris Piper (main crop)
- Love Potatoes says: A favourite English potato grown since the 60s, Maris Piper is a purple flowered maincrop potato and is one of the best known and most popular varieties on sale
So today, 22nd April, a small fallow patch which I had neglected last year suddenly had a purpose. Only room for 3 trenches so Nadine and Charlotte are sharing, but I’m sure they’re fine with that. No manure added into the soil but again beggars can’t be choosers and these spuds were an unplanned addition to the family. I also should have been more diligent in weeding the soil, so will have to try and keep on top of them in the coming months to make sure they don’t takeover the spuds.
No pic for now, will add one once they show their leaves.
* Whilst searching for a description of this variety, the 3rd results was for a news article from the Charlotte Observer about a man holding up a shop with a potato in Rhode Island. The power of the potato knows no bounds. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/22/4858044/police-man-armed-with-potato-in.html