Today I have been finishing planting my potatoes.
Almost 2 beds are full, with 2 rows of potatoes in each. We used to dig trenches which was back-breaking work, but last year I purchased a long handled bulb planter which worked really well and makes light work of the potato planting task.
I buy my seed potatoes through the allotment society which means I get a great selection at a great price and place the order in October / November time. They are ready for collection from the Allotment Shop in February / March.
Potato varieties I am growing this year are:
Charlotte – Salad Potatoes BBC Charlotte Potato Recipies
Aaron Pilot – First Earlies
Kestrel – Second Earlies – a firm favourite which lasts exceptionally well in storage or if left in the ground
Markies – Main Crop Markies Potato Information
King Edwards – Main Crop
For a great resource that tells you all about the many varieties of potatoes try the potato council website www.lovepotatoes.co.uk.
This is something that has amazed me since the first time I saw it! Potato plants produce flowers and fruit. The fruit looks just like small green tomatoes! They are not edible though.
The reason for this is that potatoes are related to tomato plants! They are both from the “Solanaceae” family which also includes aubergines and chilli pepper plants.
I have cut the potato haulms down just leaving stalks above the ground. I generally do this every year when blight starts to appear on the allotment site. In my experience it seems to attack the outdoor tomato plants first, which is a good early warning system. It is also the reason I don’t grow tomatoes on my allotment any more! This year I have not seen any signs of blight but it is getting so late on now I thought it best to do anyway.
Leaving a few inches of stalk above the ground works well as a potato marker and the potatoes can be left in the ground like this for a while longer. If you would like to know more about potato blight click here.
At the allotment today I noticed that some of my potatoes were above the surface of the soil and had turned green. As you know you should not eat green potatoes. If you want to know why you can find out here on the Food Standards Agency website.
Potatoes do like to grow near the surface of the soil which is why sometimes they appear above ground and turn green in the sunlight. To counter act this “earthing up” is an essential process to complete, it will also help you to produce a higher yielding crop. “Earthing up” means drawing soil from the sides of each row over the plants as they grow. For more details click here.
I heave heard that if the potatoes are only slightly green you can re-bury them and they may turn white again, however, I tend to find once they are green they stay green so best to get rid!