I do not put ads on my blog but do have a counter that shows me how many visits the pages get. (The stats. count is just there so I can see if I am 'talking' to myself, luckily so far this has not happened.) By continuing your visit here you are consenting to the stats. counter tracking cookies. Cookies, that sounds like something nice to eat but not that exciting.

Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetables

We grow our own fruit and vegetables for our meals for as much of the year as we can. Without a greenhouse we have to buy shop food in the winter months but in the spring, summer and autumn we often have enough to share with family and friends.

Read about growing your fruit and vegetables here on my growing your own food pages.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Potato Success and Problems 2010.. reviewing my potato crop this year

My Potato Growing Success and Problems 2010.

First Early Potatoes. Pentland Javelin - OK on my sandy soil but if I am pushed for space I may try a different variety next year. It does seem to have a tendency to grey slightly when cooked.

Second Early Potatoes. Charlotte.  Coped well on my sandy soil.This one will be on my list for next year. Good potato more waxy than floury in type, so good for salads. Has a nice yellowy colour and is a good shape and does not seem fall apart when cooked.

Second EarlyPotatoes. Saxon. Seems very similar to the Charlotte potatoes in fact hard to tell them apart once harvested.

Main Crop Potatoes.  - Still in the ground. I will update on the news for them when I dig them up later. Pentalnd Dell.

It has not been an easy year for grow your own potatoes here they have had to cope with a lot of extremes of weather here.

First the potatoes could not be planted until later in the Spring this year, as I had to wait for the soil to warm up.

Then at the very time when they needed moisture we had a prolonged dry spell, which was most unusual for the time of year. This  was the time when the baby potatoes needed moisture to develop well especially on my sandy soil. I was kept busy with the watering can and the soil was so dry it was almost impossible to earth the potatoes up as they developed to the stage where they need it. I improvised by mulching them with the hay that would normally be added to my compost heap. I was told it would seed but desperate times call for desperate measures and I wanted to keep what moisture I could in the soil with a mulch. Also I thought the mulch might protect the developing potatoes from the light, which makes them go green an therefore inedible. You should not eat the green potatoes that the light has got to.

The first earlies and second earlies are now out of the grounded. Considering what my seed potatoes have had to contend with (the drought was followed by a wet spell); I am pleased with the crop. This is not the highest of potato yields because of the weather and my poor soil. However I am pleased, especially with how the second earlies have coped.

If you are disappointed with your own grown potatoes then here are are few words of encouragement. If you are disppointed either because they are blemished and not as 'pretty' and uniform in size as the ones you buy in the shops or because of the yield then please remember how much intervention is used to achieve the uniformity in shop bought potatoes. 

If you have grown your potatoes by organic principles then they would sell for more money than the standard ones. The blemishes you see on the potatoes are not likely to make them unfit to eat. I have listed some of the problems you might spot in the potatoes you harvest. 

BTW. The first year I dug up my new potatoes I was very concerned about a 'slimey' decaying potato I kept finding in amongst my new baby potatoes. I had to ask someone about it to solve the mystery of what had caused this; it is simply the seed potato you planted and you are finding it in a state of decay because it has done its job of growing the new potatoes.

When you grow vegetables by organic standards it can take years to get the fertility of the plot up to a high standard especially if you have a vegetable plot with a 'problem/difficult soil'. My plot needs humus added to it in the from of manure, green manure to be grown and dug in and the addition of as much compost as I can make on the compost heap I have at the allotment. Sandy soils do not hold the moisture well, the particles on mine are so small that they lock together to form a crust when we get a dry spell after heavy rain fall.

Most of all enjoy eating your lovely new potatoes, the taste more than will make up for the odd little blemish. By the time the potatoes are prepared and cooked you will know that all your efforts were worth while.

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a healthy potato plant in flower

a healthy potato plant in flower
photo of potatoes in flower

home grown carrots.. grown from seed

home grown carrots.. grown from seed
photo of my first bunch of carrots 2009

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful
Home Grown Fruit can be made into delicious compote