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Busy Time & Potato Results

As you might have guessed from the few entries in the diary this month, things have been really hectic behind the scenes and the next week doesn’t show any signs of being quieter.

First of all, our daughter and family are moving from Yorkshire to half a mile up the road from us here in Wales. So they’ve come over here a couple of times looking at houses and bringing bits over including two semi-feral cats who are now living in our cow shed.

We kept them in large dog cages for a few days so they could get used to our house cats and vice versa. Since we released them we’ve not seen them at all but the food we put out vanishes by morning. They’re lovely cats but definitely not lap cats. If you don’t handle cats as a kitten they never become tame.

We’ve not had the time or perhaps the energy to do half what we planned when we moved here. I think I have to admit my stamina isn’t quite what it was 30 years ago! However, my son-in-law, Gary, wants to help out and is planning on keeping a couple of pigs here so perhaps we can catch up now. Self sufficient with a little, or a lot of, help from our relatives.

By combining resources we should be able to achieve more than we could separately.

Lady Balfour Potatoes

This year has been the first when I’ve grown Lady Balfour potatoes. They came down with blight before the Mayan Gold which was surprising as Lady Balfour are supposed to be resistant. Probably it’s a new strain of blight. The tubers aren’t badly effected and the yield was pretty fair.

What’s really disappointing is the amount of slug damage. In similar beds I’ve grown Mayan Gold, Charlotte, Arran Pilot, Sarpo Mira and Lady Balfour. None of the others have had any significant damage but Lady B is a slug magnet. Not on my grow again list.

Sarpo Mira Potatoes

The Sarpo Mira have been badly affected by scab but that’s only skin deep. It just means they need peeling. Mainly they’ve avoided tuber blight but one plant was hit. Attempting to lift the tubers they turned out to have the consistency of thick custard and that unmistakeable blight stench that gets into the back of your nose and throat.

Yield is fantastic with Sarpo Mira. A real banker – which isn’t an insult in horticultural terms. It means a crop you can bank on. Derived from the days when banks were known for honesty and integrity, which I’m old enough to remember.

Raised Bed Growing Potatoes

The last couple of years I’ve grown the potatoes in the raised beds. The reason is simply the thinness and stoniness of the soil. You certainly get a good result in terms of yield per square foot but harvesting them is a bee.

When growing normally in rows you insert your fork in at the side and lift the tubers but with the raised beds it’s hard to get the fork in without spiking tubers. And they’re always the best ones you spike!

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
7 comments on “Busy Time & Potato Results
  1. Cathy Garton says:

    Your results from the Lady Balfour are very interesting.

    I have grown these for a few years and do find that they have a fantastic flavour, but I always get a lot of slug damage, even when I have grown them in bags rather than the soil. As I’ve never grown other varieties (as I don’t have that much space in the back garden), I just assumed it was a ‘potato thing’, rather than a ‘Lady Balfour’ thing. This has inspired me to try something different next year – thanks John!

  2. Allan says:

    Well harvested my potatoes a few weeks back …picked a sunny sunday .. turned themout of the rows to dry in the sun .
    I had Aran Pilot, Kestrel , Pentaland Squire , Valor and Desire( red )

    We just picked and ate the Pilots as needed and nice size tubers
    then Kestrel were next ….the size increased from Pilots .
    So I had kestrel and the rest to harvest .

    By far the best yield was from Valor …. strugled to get seed for next year

    Worst Pentalnd Squire …..all golf – cricket ball size so not growing them, again….also many slug holes to .

    My fav are deff Kestrel and Valor …..when I used to work on a taty farm 10-15 years ago the best varieties were ….cara , nadine , estima ……old ones and hard to get hold of now

  3. John says:

    This was the second year we have grow Sarpo Mira this year not as good as last on yield,also we had a few which where blighted we suspect that the tubers we ordered where affected. Best yields and results on the tatty front this year was from the old favourite King Edwards I love these potatoes live on North East Coast Very close to the sea.

  4. colin says:

    have just lifted the last of my potato crop (maris piper , really good yield)
    i tried “anya” as well but problems with blight , the survivors were small but delicious. i have been advised to try growing “setanta” , great flavour and blight resistant. i would be interested to hear from anyone else who may have tried them.

  5. tomphill says:

    I have ordered Lady Balfour for the first time ever after reading good reviews. Now I wish I had this info. available before.

  6. tim says:

    re Sarpo mira , this is my second year growing them,smaller than last year, a little scab but plenty of them. The first year like marrows!

  7. Sheds Direct says:

    We had a bumper crop of potatoes but UI have to admit I do not know what variety they were but they mashed and roasted as good as any I have eaten before

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