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Harvesting Blight Resistant Sarpo Mira Potatoes

Like most of my plans, today didn’t go according to it. The idea was to make the most of the weather and get down to the plot early. Early for me being lunchtime with just a few urgent work bits to sort in the morning. Well, around 3pm I headed for the plot. So much for an early start.

Anyway, better late than never is the motto!

Potatoes from the Compost Heap

compost heap potatoes in my wheelbarrowOne of the compost heaps on plot 29 had quite a bit of potato haulm growing from it. I assume from damaged potatoes that had started to sprout in there. There was a pretty big clump of nettles growing on there as well. The nettles ended up in the plastic compost bin where the lack of light and hot rot will stop them from coming back. I know, before anyone says it, you shouldn’t have things growing out of your compost bin but what should happen and what does happen are often different, especially on my plot.

The big surprise was that these travellers actually gave me about 10lbs of potatoes.

We all like something for nothing and this was a real bargain, as the first picture shows. To scale the photo, they’re in a standard wheelbarrow.

Potatoes from the Plot

Larry showed up with some paper sacks for us since we were running short of hessian sacks. I think his neighbour gets them from a chip shop and they’ll get a second life storing our potatoes in the mother of all sheds at home.

He wanted to see what the crop from the ground was like so I dug up a couple of plants. The first was a King Edward that provided 4 (count them, 4!) small potatoes. The blight hadn’t got into the potatoes but had killed the foliage earlier in the year so I suppose I was lucky to get anything. They’re about the right size for seed potatoes but hardly decent chippers.

The next was a Sarpo Mira, the blight resistant potato only available from Thompson & Morgan. This provided 3 or 4 pounds of small to medium potatoes that were disappointing.

I started the potato harvest proper at the other end of the plot as there is space to throw the soil and sort through for travellers. As each row is cleared they get sorted on the previous row, if that makes sense.

Well the first row only had two plants in it, the leftovers at the end when I planted out. Incredibly I must have got 15lbs at least from them. The Sarpo Mira tend to produce uneven shapes and sizes (so not much cop for show growers) and we don’t find them good for roasting or chipping but they are great for baking, mash and fantastic in things like leek and potato pie as they don’t disintegrate. They also store well.

Having said they are blight resistant, everyone else’s potatoes had gone down on the site and mine were still growing, the other benefit is that they are pretty resistant to slugs. I hadn’t taken much action against slugs on the bed, just a couple of sprinklings of pellets at the start of the season and after I cut the haulm off. The slugs seem to start making a hole but give in. The Sarpo are very dense, perhaps that stops them.

There was one potato that looked great on one side but underneath there was a large hole full of what looked like small (about 10mm long) white / translucent centipede type bugs. Yuck!!

Anyway, moved onto the first full row (about 10′ or 3 metres) and I must have got 70 to 80 pounds – 35 Kg. Incredible. That’s what I call a return on investment. Too many for one wheelbarrow load from a single row.

Loaded them into sacks which will get transported home when I’ve got the car.

The picture below is the product of just two plants in my wheelbarrow, not including the potato with the bugs in or a couple that had gone green on the surface.

Sarpo Mira Potatoes

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “Harvesting Blight Resistant Sarpo Mira Potatoes
  1. Alan says:

    I too have had a great crop of Sarpo potatoes but although they were all well earthed up, I was very disappointed to discover on peeling about twenty of them today that the flesh under the skin of every one was green.I had to pare away half of each tuber to get to white flesh.As I have about five sacks of these in the shed I am very concerned that if we continue to eat these potatoes I will poison us all.I know that the odd tuber will go green when exposed to daylight while growing but to have this happen to every one is worrying.I am anxious to know whether anybody else has experienced this problem or is it something I am or am not doing correctly.

  2. don duggan says:

    I am very interested to read this page. This year I am growing Sarpo Mira for the first time. Compared to other varieties so far I have noticed that they are slower to sprout and start to grow, the leaves are a much darker colour and thenstems tend to remain closer to the ground. Also the leaf shape is more round than other varieties. Cant determine the blight resistance yet at its only early may and still cold here in Southern Ireland. Hopefully I get a crop like shown here.

  3. chuffa says:

    I will be growing Sarpo Axona in 2012 maincrop. They are similar to Mira but more creamy in texture and more regular in shape. The supplier (Alan Romans Potatoes) did say that they should not be left to grow to long as they can become slightly hollow.

  4. Ian Geary says:

    I have grown sarpo for the last two years and have bought my sarpo mira seed potatoes this week from a nursery. I was fed up with blight. But last year was dry, so no sign of blight in th emidlands. I had an enormous crop of potatoes from my sarpo. They are irregualr shapes and some weigh over 2lbs each. They do tend to green over if you plant too near the surface.I find they keep very well indeed. We eat them in chips as well as everything else. I also grow Kestrel as I like a white one for a change and these are slug resistant. I use plenty of horse manue and chucked chicken pelllets under each tubar seed last year.

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