This is part 3 of a 3 part series of articles, growing potatoes for show – harvesting & showing, on growing prize winning potatoes for the show bench by John Trim, Fellow of the National Vegetable Society, show judge and horticultural lecturer.
- Growing Potatoes for Show, Introduction & Best Varieties
- Growing Potatoes for Show, Cultivation of Show Potatoes
- Growing Potatoes for Show Harvest & Showing Potatoes
After 10 weeks some of the first earlies will be coming up to harvest. Winston is generally in this group. You should see the bags bulging at this stage. It is usually necessary to cut the haulms off one bag and turn it out to ascertain if the crop is up to exhibition size.
Tip the bag out very carefully and tease the potatoes from the compost. If the crop is up to size save any suitable show specimens and store in bags of fresh dry peat.
The rest of the potatoes of that variety should now have the haulms cut off. Leave the bags for a few days to allow the tuber skins to harden.
The bags can then be lifted and stored under cover until you have time to sort them out.
As a general guide second early potatoes like Bonnie and Kestrel are more likely to take 13 weeks to maturity.
Once your crop of potatoes has been sorted they can be left in the dry peat until required for each show.
Preparing for the Show
Clean the tubers under running cold water using a sponge or a cloth. The skins should be perfectly set which means you should be able to rub any small imperfections off.
Make sure the eyes are clean. Disregard any potato that has disease, greening or insect damage. If the judge should find a wireworm or slug hole your prize dish will not get a look in.
After washing dry the potatoes and wrap up in tissue paper. Not newspaper as the type could mark the skins. Pack carefully into a box that excludes the light.
Cover the exhibit with more tissue paper to exclude the light. The steward will remove it prior to judging.
If your exhibit is clean, shapely, of the right size tubers, within weight limits and all matched for uniformity then you are in with a good chance of a winner’s card.