This year my decision on which seed potatoes to buy has been driven by the usual factors -
- Varieties of potato that we know and love.
That is the potatoes like the Charlotte potato which sits so beautifully on a plate with salad.
This one cooks up as a firm not floury potato when grown in our sandy soil. The Charlotte potato is classed as a second early potato, which means it sits between the first early and the main crop on the planting and harvesting calendar/time wise.
For me it has never discoloured when cooked in the way that some varieties do. I do not find a potato with a grey tinge particularly attractive when dished up as a boiled spud. That will be the way that the Charlotte potatoes we grow are mainly cooked. If I remember rightly from last year they also made a popular roast potato as the family like the way they held together and went crisp on the outside when cooked in this way. But as I said the Charlotte is being planted mainly to be used when harvested as a potato that can be boiled without falling apart or discolouring.
Charlotte potatoes are sometimes described as a waxy potato this does not mean the taste it refers to the texture as in it is firm rather than floury.
The good old Pentland Javelin potato which is special to me because it was the first variety of seed potato that I ever bought and planted on the allotment the first spring.
It has become a sort of tradition to grow this one and the kids like it when they visit for Sunday lunch. One of the useful qualities of Pentland Javelin is that it can be harvested as a first early, which it is.
Or, as I discovered the first year I grew this variety it can if left be harvested as a larger potato. Not that I am recommending the former method to everyone but this does work for me.
I like to harvest first earlies as and when I want to eat them so sometimes it is later in the season when the last ones of a variety are harvested. The only downside I would say to this variety is that when coked some times I have had it discolour slightly, if I do not serve it straight away. There are other types of Javelin potato such as the Pentland Dell ( not a first early) which I have tried but do not wish to grow again.
On the pack the Pentland Javelin seed potatoes are described as a first early potatoes that can be harvested in June or July. It also says it is an easy to grow variety which produces good yields of potatoes which can be boiled, steamed or in salad. I have found they roast up nicely too.
- Of course when you harvest your potatoes will vary with when you can plant them.
- When you plant your seed potatoes will vary each year with the weather being the biggest influence on your decision.
One of the other factors will be where you live in the UK and usually the further North then the later will be the date that you can plant your seed potatoes.
I am going to be planting Scottish seed potatoes.
Most were purchased from my usual seed potato supplier but this year I am also going to try some bought from the local Aldi store. They are still Scottish seed potatoes the choice of variety is less - one type of main crop and one type of fist early.
The plot has an area hat has previously been grass, which will be put to use for potatoes now that it has been cleared. The cheaper seed potatoes have saved us money and are going into the newly cleared front of the plot. From experience I know that former grass areas planted with potatoes mean the potatoes harvested will probably have little holes in them from wire worm. The new potatoes will still be edible and potatoes are a good first crop on an area not planted up with vegetable crops in the past.
More on this topic soon.