Potatoes

Upon our return from the Alps, King of the Hill noticed that the foliage of our maincrop Desiree potatoes was displaying symptoms of the early blight (target spot) that Monty Don mentioned in a recent episode of Gardeners World.

This is an opportunistic disease, striking the ageing leaves of the mature plants. With the tubers set, our crop could be harvested as usual at these first signs with little contamination, hopefully. KOTH promptly cut down the foliage of all the plants to be burned, leaving the potatoes in the ground for a few more days until this weekend, when we found the opportunity to lift them all and leave them on the surface in the sun to dry. Then we carried them up to the house: taking four journeys with our trusty wicker trug.

Discarded tubers and dried stems for burning

The only sign of damage appears to be from slugs. These tunnel through some of our maincrop potatoes every year – last year we grew Maris Piper, which were heavily attacked – while our first and second earlies manage to escape unscathed. Next year we shall investigate what we can do to prevent slugs feasting on our late tubers; perhaps investing in nematodes towards the end of the season.

Some of our potatoes are rather big

Despite discarding the worst tubers, we still have a heavy crop of unspoiled potatoes, with little or no sign of scab, ready to store in paper bags for use over the winter; along with some that have minimal damage. These we can prepare now, cutting out the damage before boiling, mashing and freezing the rest.

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6 thoughts on “Potatoes

  1. Wonderful! How many tubers had you planted? I’d be jealous, but I don’t have enough room to store the potatoes. I was astounded to hear one of my fellow plot holders explain that he would be giving most of his (very impressive) potato crop away, as he didn’t particularly like them!

    • Ooh I’m not sure on the numbers, my husband planted these out. Think we had one-and-a-half to two rows (each about 8ft long) of maincrop potatoes, about a foot apart. I’m not sure where we’ll store these, mind, as we hope to start work soon on the unfinished cloakroom where we stored our winter squashes all year. We will no longer have a cool haven for our produce!

      I’m amazed that one of your fellow allotmenteers grows a crop he doesn’t eat! Is he very much one of the traditionalists, growing the crops that one “should” grow, or does he just enjoy the challenge? If we didn’t eat potatoes, they would be vanquished instantly, just imagine what else we could grow in all that space? 😉

      • Weird, isn’t it! One of the reasons I chose not to grow maincrop taties was the space they would take up, space I wanted to use for corn, beans etc. M, the man concerned, still manages to cram a huge amount in to his half plot, by having very narrow paths, but I don’t know him well enough to ask why he bothers at all… Could you build racks that are fastened by pulleys attached to the ceiling in your cloakroom? Or maybe you need to build a veg store…

        • Intriguing indeed. Hmm, perhaps I could commandeer the bike store for our vegetables. Once the cloakroom is commissioned, it won’t seem quite right to have edibles in there.

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