St Patrick’s Day = potato planting

Orla potatoesI am a non-conformist. Not a rebel, note – rebellion’s for idealists and fools – but more a square peg in a round hole. Wherever I am in life, I never seem to fit.

I used to hate this. As a young man, I despaired about it. Young people live in terror of being ‘different’. When you know beyond all doubt that you are a total weirdo, being a 16-year-old is purest shit.

I’ve embraced my outsider status over the years. For good or ill, it’s me. I’m simply not mainstream, and there it is.

On the other hand, I enjoy flirting with convention – and I’m religious about planting my first early potatoes on St Patrick’s Day.

In common with folks up and down the UK, I was digging shit and planting potatoes this weekend – and loving it.

It’s a weekend of promise and optimism, and a job to be savoured. Hurry up, Summer!

Posted on 18th March 2012
Under: Potatoes | 6 Comments »

One potato, two potato… oh

new potatoes "Orla"So I thought my new potatoes might be ready. So I dug up one plant to see.

This is the result: one egg-sized potato and one pissy rabbit turd. This represents a return on my planting investment of a half potato.

Some return.

There are no words up to the task of adequately describing my disappointment. Digging the first new potatoes is usually one of the highlights of my vegetable growing year.

Obviously not this year. The only consolation is that it’s now pissing with rain pretty much 24/7, so after the drought we’ve had I might at last see things catching up a bit.

Posted on 12th June 2011
Under: Potatoes | 5 Comments »

Planting the first earlies… at last

Planting first early potatoesI’ve waited for this for what feels like a year. I’ve been desperate to get the bloody potatoes in, but Life has conspired against me for weeks.

It was a lovely afternoon, but Nature is slow to bestir Herself this year. I saw my first daffodil on Wednesday (a pretty mangy specimen), but of Spring there is still barely a sign. No Forsythia, no Camellias, nothing. Have you seen any?

Folks keep saying a hot summer follows a cold winter. But the summer of 1963, following the ‘Great Freeze’ of 62/63, was apparently unremarkable… so I’m not holding my breath. This Global Warming thingamajig ain’t all it’s cracked up to be – in the UK, at any rate.

Posted on 21st March 2010
Under: Potatoes | 11 Comments »

Seed potatoes: Seeds of Spring

seed potatoesSpring is within view, at last; when the seed potato order arrives, it’s not far off.

I’m being very unadventurous: Desiree, Orla, Kerr’s Pink. The only slightly unusual one is Ratte, a terrific French second early/early maincrop that I’ve become fond of. Utterly delicious salad potato.

Who knows? I may even go to the allotment at some point. After, er, a month’s absence.

Posted on 21st January 2010
Under: Potatoes, Spring | 9 Comments »

New potatoes for supper

New potatoesWell, they’ve arrived. Could be a tad bigger, if I were being picky, but I suppose it’s only early June.

We had the first spuds on Sunday, and in truth I need to wait a little longer. One-plant-per-diner isn’t fabulously economical.

Having said that, small new potatoes are lip-smackingly delicious when fresh. I could scoff them until I’m sick. And beyond, probably.

Posted on 10th June 2009
Under: Potatoes | 11 Comments »

Orla potato flowers… at last

Orla potato flowerAbout bloody time. Jeez. It feels like YEARS since I planted these Orla spuds. First Earlies… my arse.

Anyway, they’re here now. And they’re flowering, so maybe I can risk digging one up.

Tomorrow’s the night. Fresh, toothsome, earthy new potatoes for supper… or disappointment?

Anyone been digging their spuds for weeks already and laughing at my feeble efforts? Now’s the time to crow if you have to…

Posted on 2nd June 2009
Under: Potatoes | 15 Comments »

Planting potatoes: Orla and Ratte

Planting potatoes: Orla and RatteI’ve been planting First Early potatoes. Always an exciting time – it means Spring is minutes away.

This year it’s Orla (a trusty favourite – early, disease-resistant, tasty) and Ratte. OK, so Ratte is strictly a maincrop potato, but you can harvest it as a second early if you plant in March.

Lots of folks hereabouts dig trenches and lay old newspaper and grass clippings underneath the spuds. The idea is to help conserve moisture. Frankly, I can’t be arsed; life’s too short. So I stuff them in with a bulb planter.

It does the trick, because I always get a great crop. But then, I dig in shit loads (literally) of manure and compost over the winter.

Either you go with the swings or the roundabouts, I guess.

Posted on 15th March 2009
Under: Potatoes, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »