Harvesting Potatoes

Finally we get some decent weather back, which meant I could actually get things done on the plot. We’ve had our friends Annie & Laurent staying with us for the week, so I couldn’t really just run off to the plot on my own. No, I kindly allowed Laurent to come with me and help!

Although plot 29 is in fair shape, plot 5 was looking an eyesore. I’d tried a bit of an experiment with the potatoes this year. Usually I space them conventionally, 12″ apart for the earlies, 15″ for the main crop in rows 24″ apart for the earlies and 30″ for the maincrop. This year I gave them a little more room to see if the yield per plant would improve.

Normally I don’t worry about weeds in the potatoes, you get a few but the haulm shades out the majority. The extra spacing, however, allowed the weeds to really get started and by the time we’d returned from our holiday in June they were almost swamping the potatoes.

Now the problem was that pulling the weeds up was exposing the developing potato tubers and the weather has been really against us for weeding as well. So just leave them until harvest was the answer.

Now I’ve harvested all the first and second earlies my conclusion is that the normal spacing is the best to go for.

The Swift produced well but the real winner so far has been the Winston. It’s a lovely potato, perfect size, nice conformation and reasonable yield. The Kestrel are OK but the Anya have been pathetic.

Now I’m a great believer in quality seed and with potatoes it’s even more vital. Reasonable sized seed potatoes of good quality will get things off to a good start. Last year I tried a new (to me) supplier who delivered excellent quality but this year the quality was less than good and the Anya were tiny. In fact some of them looked like they’d cut a small potato into two rather than being one seed potato.

They also arrived really late so didn’t get much time for chitting before planting.

Sadly I’d thrown away the sprouting remnants of last year or I would have used them. In fact a bag from the supermarket would have done better. I had emailed him about them and got a semi-apology in reply. Well, guess who I’m not going to use again. It’s not the cost of the seed potatoes, it’s the lack of result that annoys.

Like most others on the site, we’ve suffered with blight but only a few tubers seem to have been affected. The Sarpo seem to have a bit of damage, but are still going so they can stay in the ground.

Val’s been busy sorting out the potatoes for storage. She spreads them onto an old shower curtain on the lawn for sorting. The perfects go into hessian sacks for long term store, the slight damaged or slug nibbled into paper sacks to use first and any that are showing blight or badly damaged get discarded.

Val Sorting Potatoes

Val Sorting Potatoes

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
One comment on “Harvesting Potatoes
  1. laurent says:

    salut John et val j espère que tout va bien pour vous , Annie vous a envoyés un colis que vous allez recevoir dans pas longtemps ,pour le jardinage j espère que ça se passe bien avec moins de pluie ,faite pour nous de gros bisous aux chats
    , on vous fait de gros bisous et bon courage pour les livres ainsi que le déménagement,

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