Spuds, spuds and morespuds
A few hints and tips on choosing and growing your potatoes.
1) Choose certified seed potatoes, don’t be tempted to use those bought in the supermarket, they may look good but can contain hidden diseases which although do not affect the eating qualities will certainly affect the growing. Seed potatoes will have been specially grown and inspected for very very low levels of disease.
2) Decide how much room you have to devote to growing them. If it is only a small space, or you are growing in pots or containers, choose First earlies. These will give you a crop in 10-12 weeks! They are the delicious new potatoes and most are waxy (do not break up on boiling) unless you leave them in the ground too long!
Dig and eat once they start flowering. Second earlies take a little longer to grow giving a bigger crop and many of our delicious salad potatoes fall into thus category. Maincrop potatoes are the ones for storing, they need to grow for 18-24 weeks and therefore use valuable space for a long period, only grow if you have the room!
3) Chitting – the act of getting the potato tuber to shoot. Must be done in a cool, LIGHT place, not under the bed! Essential with First Earlies, not so important with the rest.
More to follow in the next blog, including what varieties to choose.
For those of you who don’t know Potato_Colin he is our Potato Day Mascot! A Robin! He visits all the event with us and regularly tweets about his adventures on Twitter @potato_colin.(Well what else would a bird do!)
Over the 12 days of Christmas he tweeted about his favourite potatoes and for those of you who missed these here is a little recap.
1) HARLEQUIN – If you like Anya you’ll love this Pink Fir x Charlotte. Delicate, waxy texture, good taste.
2) JAZZY – like Charlotte only better, according to Mrs Colin who serves them with lashings of butter.
3)CERISA – Red-skinned salad variety with some blight resistance. Good in lighter soils, tasty too.
4) BF15 – Terrible name, great potato. One of the best for boiling and lovely in those summer salads.
5) For Christmas Eve it had to be CAROLUS. Red flesh and yellow skin, blight resistant.Good for baking or roasting.
6) CARA – The lovely Mrs Colin used these today for our excellent Xmas lunch. Superb fluffy bakers.
7) IMAGINE – waxy blight resistant salad. Maincrop, so keeps too. Perfect with those Boxing Day leftovers.
8) ORCHESTRA – All rounder, creamy flavour, high yield and good storer. Good if conditions aren’t ideal.
9) JESTER – New baby salad variety Vales Emerald x. Short Folige so good for growing in pots.
10) APACHE – Buttery chestnutty flavour with a red skin, hence the name. Steam or roast whole.
11) VIOLETTA – Mrs Colin makes purple mash for the kids with these. Good as a novelty salad potato too.
12) VIVALDI – Third fewer calories and carbs than other spuds. Mrs Colin says I need more of these.
So that was Potato_colin 12 days of Potato Christmas, there are so many varieties to choose from. We have put together two small collections of 5 varieties 3 tubers of each to help you try some of these. They are available on the website www.pennardplants.com now.
Just a few other points about some of these, Apache makes great mash too, Cara is my favourite for Roasties, BF15 is just typical of that beautiful yellow firm fleshed potato you get served on the continent!
Potato Days and things!
So long since I added to this blog I am really embarrassed to be writing it again at last. (New Year’s resolution to add something at least everything month!)
What’s in this bulletin – Potato Days, Special Offer, News from the Shows.
Firstly the time is nearly here for our Famous Potato Events! The first will be at Bridport on Saturday 9th January 2016 and the second in Bristol on the following day 10th January. Both of these events have FREE admission, the latter sponsored by Country Gardener Magazine for whom we are extremely grateful. After that we have events every weekend and some evenings too, full information at www.potato-days.net.
We should have at least 60 varieties available at each event some new ones, some old ones and some neglected ones!
Now a special offer for you all. Until January 10th we are offering 25% off all seed orders placed via the website (minimum order £7.50) to get the season of to a great start. We have a huge range now so should be something for everyone. Use the code ‘Happynewyear25’ in the discount/coupon box.
Now for some news from the shows, we appear to be at all the usual culprits again except Wisley Flower Show, but will also be taking on a few new ones for 2016 including a return to Malvern spring after a few year’s of absence. Full details can be found at the ‘Our Shows’ page on the website.
Apart from wishing everyone a Happy New Year, that’s all for now folks, check back for updates including what you should be getting on with in the garden.
A really mild month again, lots of wind but otherwise things are still growing well. Fruit trees all up dated on the website and the calendar is done for 2015. We have been confirmed at all the major shows again and just planning the displays. Chelsea has been done, Hampton Court well under way. Hardly seems a few weeks since we were building this years.
In the garden the Yacon is flowering (waiting for a frost to harvest this and the Oca), if top growth is anything to go by should be a bumper crop
A long time coming……
Oh dear, I see I last wrote on this blog in December 2013, all the resolutions about a regular article seem to have gone out of the window. Time, where does it go, here we are in June, England nearly out of the World Cup!, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show looming, halfway through the year already!!
At last the weather is warm, talk of water restrictions in some areas (after all that flooding!) plants are growing strongly, even the agapanthus are flowering which will be a first for the last couple of years when we have really struggled to make it through the displays at Hampton and Tatton due to late flowering.
We have a new show coming up too, the replacement for Cottesbrooke, this one at the well known Borde Hill Gardens in West Sussex, near to Haywards Heath. On June 27th, 28th and 29th. We shall be there with our incredible Edible plants and a few surprises including some Agapanthus. Do come along and see us at a part of the country we don’t often visit.
A few reminders about sowing and planting. Keep sowing beetroot, carrots, radishes and salad crops to maintain a supply into the autumn of fresh, young vegetables. As you harvest other crops such as potatoes, plant out the winter crops, leeks, brussels, cabbages and others. Keep courgettes picked (we don’t like marrows), and start to feed the tomatoes
Its November since I added to this blog – sorry. Here we are, Christmas has already been and gone, its Boxing Day, the sun is shining but don’t be fooled more rough weather is forecast for tonight.
For the first time in 12 years we had quite a lot of damage at the nursery, apart from trees blown over on the beds we actually had some trees snapped off and the covers removed from the shade tunnels by the severe south-westerly winds which lashed the nursery.
We will start repairs next week but that will take time so hoping that the forecast gales tonight wont materialise or at least be less severe than previous.
On a positive note the crop of Oca, just harvested, is excellent and we can now offer that on the website. The potatoes are now listed and available to order, despatch mid Jan onwards and the scary thought is that Potato Days start in just three weeks.
Clearing up the veg patch
Nice weather has encouraged us to clean up the vegetable plot ready for planting some early crops. This has meant digging the last of the potatoes, some excellent Romano, last of the Charlotte and some huge potatoes of unknown type because the chickens have dug out the label and it has disappeared. They make great roasties and jackets so will have to identify them somehow.
Still waiting to harvest the Oca however, the lack of frosts has meant they are still in full growth and the longer we can leave them the larger the tubers will be.
The mild weather not only here but on the continent has delayed lifting of trees and bare root shrubs and fruit so despatch of these will have to be delayed until after Christmas in many cases.