Tag Archives: potatoes


Pick of the crop; self-sown potatoes - 17th July 2012

Pick of the crop; self-sown potatoes – 17th July 2012

I harvested all but one of my sacks of potatoes during a thunder storm and down pour on Sunday; they haven’t really done very well this year and I only got a small bucket full from three sacks (no weighting this year as I wasn’t that organised). Still there is enough for a few meals and I might well try planting the sprouting volunteers I have to see what the results of that are.

The potatoes that seem to have done the best have been these self-sown ones which I harvested last month and managed to produce a reasonable harvest even though they were growing in only shallow box shared with some strawberry plants. I’m not sure if they have done better because they are better suited to growing in my garden or because they were in the ground from so early in the year.

More potatoes

Sorting and weighing; self-sown potato harvest - 3rd July 2011

Sorting and weighing; self-sown potato harvest - 3rd July 2011

Yesterday I spent the morning manning the allotment which were open to the public as part of the village open gardens. It wasn’t busy, two people drove in, stopped and looked from their car and left without even opening the door, so we managed to get some things done.

Whilst I was doing some smaller jobs my HelpX helper dug up some of the self-sown potatoes and it wasn’t a bad harvest at all – 9.9kgs from only about half of the plants which haven’t even had the time of planting put into them!

Sorted; self-sown potato harvest - 3rd July 2011

Sorted; self-sown potato harvest - 3rd July 2011

Today I sorted them into sizes – Large, medium large, smaller, salad and smallest. There seem to be two different types with some being a little like Charlottes and I’ve no idea about the others. Some have already gone into a potato salad and a few more are in the oven roasting for tonight’s dinner.

I’ve also managed (or between us we have) cleared some of the back garden which I’ve hardly even been in for the last month, prick out 72 loose leaf lettuces, pot on sprout plants (which I hope to sort and grow in the back garden along with other winter veg) and collect and sow some chive seeds.

Not a bad day really.

New potatoes

First picking; new potatoes - 15th June 2011

First picking; new potatoes - 15th June 2011

On Tuesday I noticed what looked like it might be the start of blight on one of the sacked potatoes growing at home. I checked the other sacks over and it seemed to be just the one sack that had it and so there was nothing for it but to dig them up and eat them before it spread (if in fact it was blight…)

Home grown dinner; new potatoes with omelette - 15th June 2011

Home grown dinner; new potatoes with omelette - 15th June 2011

We’ve been holding off on starting on the home-grown potatoes as we still have half a sack of stored potatoes left that need using first but it was nice to be finally starting on the home-grown crop.

The potatoes weren’t a bad size and we collect 1.2kg of them. I can’t remember what verity they were but they were planted on march 1st. We ate half of them boiled with a cheesey chives and garlic omelette.

Potato planning: A plan

During the wet weather this weekend I’ve sat down and gone through the potato seed catalogue and decided what I think is going to be best to grow next year. Potatoes are very much a staple food here, but even so I did go a little over board with my seed potato buying this year and, partly as a result of having too many to plant and them going out too late, we got a very poor harvest.

Next year I have decided to scale back on potatoes but still have a go. I’ve picked out one for each type; first early, second early, etc.

For the first early I am going to try Mimi again, even though we didn’t get a single one this year I would still like to give them another go. They are a dwarf variety and meant to do very well in tubes but the tubes I had didn’t seem to have enough drainage and so kept flooding and becoming waterlogged. Next year I am going to try growing all the potatoes in tyres on the allotment so this won’t be a problem, unless we geta LOT of rain.

For the second early I’ve chosen Charlottes, I know we like this variety and even though it is a salad potato when it is available in the shops we use it for all sorts. They also seem a reasonably popular variety so I hope this means that they do well.

For the early main I have picked Maris Piper, Rhys requested that we had one ‘Maris’ in the selection as he likes floury potatoes, so here we have it. Also as with Charlottes, it is a variety that we’ve heard of and indeed have had several sacks of this year alone so hopefully should do well. 

And finally, for the main I’ve chosen  Druid, which according to the catalogue has ‘huge yeilds’ and is ‘ideal for the organic grower’ because of its resistence. I don’t really think of us, or the way that we grow food at home, as organic growers but I suppose we do.

I’ve already started a bed on the allotment for potatoes, one of the new beds has been lined with cardboard then a layer of manure and now I am adding old tyres with more manure in ready for the spring.

Loose ends

Well, the cows have gone and life is carrying on as it does. We are starting to think of what to get next, as we do enjoy the cows milk we will get another one, it is just a matter of what and when.

There have been other things that have happened in the last week or so that I have meant to post about but not had chance. All of the girl goat kids have been disbudded so as they don’t grow horns, they are growing well too. ‘Greedy Boy’ has not been disbudded as as he is not pure bred he is a meat kid so it will not matter so much if he has horns, where as the girls will mostly likely become milkers when they are fully grown and it is not a nice job teaching a large female goat to stand to be milked if she has horns, even if she doesn’t mean to catch you with them.

The goslings and chicks are also doing well and are big enough to move out of the brooder this weekend. I’m also trying to have a clear up and sort out inside, I have far to much ‘stuff’ that I just don’t use or need and it is stopping me getting to the things that I do use or would use if I could get to it.

Last Sunday there was a special LETS meeting, it was nice to have a meeting on a weekend afternoon whenyou haven’t had to rush to get things done because you’ve been at work all day but there was a disappointing turn out. A small amount of trading went on but we ,mostly sat around chatting and drinking tea. I didn’t bother getting most of the things I had taken out of the car so I still have boxes of ‘stuff’ sitting around that I’d hoped to of got rid of by now. I will take it to the meeting next week and then maybe take the rest to a carboot sale.

We lefted the first garlic on mid summer, it was some of the self sown patch so has been in the ground for at least six months or more but was very disappointing. It haven’t started to split into a bulb yet. We also harvested some potatoes last week which were also disappointing, not many at all. 

The weather is very hot, which is making getting things done during the day difficult but it’s slowly getting done. The weather is meant to break over the weekend so it’s best just to enjoy what we have now and try to arrange the day so as we are not out during the hottest parts

Free Seeds

I started ordering some more seeds for next year today, lots of different colours of carrot. Some red, two different purples, yellow and some orange (mini and giant.)  I’ve tried to order non-F1seeds, the mini and giant are, so as I can have ago at saving some seed from them, and the yellow coloured ones are an heirloom verity. I’m a member of an online survey site, were you fill in questionaires, mostly about shopping, and you collect points which can be exchanged for lots of different things including PayPal credit. 

I’m really pleased with myself, I picked out the seeds I wanted a while ago and have been saving up my points until I had enough for the seeds I wanted. It feels good and I can’t wait until the seeds arrive.

The new T&M catalogue came the other day, I’ve add up how much all the seed potatoes that I want and it’s £50 worth, ouch. There are two heritage/heirloom collection that I want, I want all the different types potatoes but both collection add up to 160 tubers so I have posted a ‘potato share’ in the LETS newsletter and the Freecycle café and have had a fair few responses from people interested. One of them is someone from a community garden who have offered to swap for some of the heritage seeds that they have saved.  

One of the other kinds that I want is a new verity called Mimi. It is a first early and are “unique cherry-sized, red-skinned salad. Huge numbers. Delicious tasting. Dwarf foliage and ideal for growing in containers.”

It started to feel like winter today, it was a nice day and the sun was out but it was cold, and still is. I think there might be a frost tonight. I’ve said for a couple of days running that I think we need to light the wood burner but it really had to be done tonight. Tomorrow I’m off and one of my jobs is going to have to be getting a new chain for the chainsaw. Normally we use a handsaw for cutting up all the wood for the wood burners, it’s always been everyone’s job to saw a box full of wood each day in the winter when we were growing up but this year we’re all almost grown-up, not that I feel at all grown-up, and there just isn’t the time in the day anymore.

We’re getting ready for Apple Day at work, it’s in two weekends time, and today I went out collecting apples (from Freecycle) to put through the press and it was really nice. I wish we had apple trees, the only ‘useful’ tree we have is a sweet chestnut tree. When me and mother went to get Kniteshade on Sunday the motorway was lined with apple trees covered in fruit, all going to waste. My dad has a theory that the reason motorways and railway lines almost always have fruit trees along them is because of people throwing their cores out of the windows.

Potatoes and mushrooms

It’s my day off today, I got up this morning and got distracted by the vegetable garden on the way down to the goats (in the end Rhys went and feed them instead) one of the boxes that’s had potatoes growing in it was looking very empty of plant so I pull at one of the old steams and up came a load of potatoes! I then of course had to sit there, digging around on the top of the box, with my bare hands as there just wasn’t time to go and get something else to use of course, fishing out potatoes. They look really good.

The box that they came from was meant to be Christmas potatoes for last year but they didn’t come through until the spring. We’ve never really grown potatoes before, as we eat LOADS of them we were never going to grow enough to last use but next year I have a plan……

Me and mother also found some ‘penny bun’ mushrooms just outside the garden

Yahoo! Reminders

I got my reminder for Yahoo! today to start chitting my potatoes for growing for Christmas, just need to find some potatoes now!

A weekend of half dones

Last weekend was hot, I was off Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I think only on the Thursday was it cool enough to be outside working all day. The other days had a few hours mid-afternoon that just had to be spend sat inside in the cool until outside was cooler.

So really it doesn’t feel like much was done, Rhys did very well at cleaning the kitchen. We started taking down an old chicken shed ready for a move round and new goat pen, we collected and shredded a load of gorse for the goats and picked branches for them all but Sunday, changed over the water butt by the goats as the old one had started to drip and we were given a much bigger one, gave most of the sacks of muck that had been collected away on Freecycle (me and mummy were told a very funny story about mice and shampoo), I picked out wood for splitting one of the goat houses in two ready for kidding at the start of next month but we didn’t actually manage to split the house.

I half-heartly started planting some more potato’s in sacks (we eat alot of potatoes and I can’t bare the thought of any being left in the ground so they’re all going in sacks) but gave up because of the heat. I thought about planting some carrots and beetroot in the garden (cats have messed mummy’s up) but never got out there to do so.

Ooh, I did pick up some ‘new’ hutches for the quail to go in from someone belonging to LETS, it’s my first time spending Deans and the people I got the hutches from had an interesting holding and might want some quail…

…Basically lots of things got started and were on My List but never got finished.