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 »

Disappointing maincrop potato harvest

Arran Victory potatoes

Harvested the last of the spuds today. Very disappointing; small tubers and not many of them. Two 15ft rows filled only half a sack. Normally I get a sackful and a bit.

I’m assuming it was the hot, dry June. Great for sweetcorn, but not ideal for potatoes, which do a lot of their top growth in June. Even with that wet July, the haulms didn’t grow as big as usual.

Hey ho. Forced optimism is not – as you may already know – my bag. But the great thing about gardening is that there’s always next year.

PS OMG… things could be worse

Posted on 6th September 2009
Under: Potatoes | 6 Comments »

Why Ratte potatoes are excellent

Ratte potatoAt this time of year, I’d normally be ranting about courgettes: how many I’ve got, how quickly they turn into marrows, how I can’t get rid of them etc etc.

(See? I almost went off on one there).

But I’m not going to inflict that upon you (not today, anyway). Instead, I want to sing the praises of the Ratte potato.

Granted, it’s French. But that’s a small black mark against a spud that is truly excellent in every other way. Its yield is prodigious (albeit with small-ish tubers in a dry Spring), it tolerates a bit of blight, tastes absolutely delicious and is very versatile in cookery. As a salad potato, it beats Charlotte hands down.

In short, Ratte gets the Soilman Mark of Full Approval. For what that’s worth.

If you’re looking to try a new early (they grow fine as second earlies – ready in mid to late June), you could do worse than this one.

Posted on 10th August 2009
Under: Potatoes | 5 Comments »

Here comes the glut…

All the year round Caulifowers and Ratte potatoesThick and fast now, thick and fast. It’s all going crazy.

We have Ratte potatoes, Orla potatoes, All-the-year-round cauliflowers, Early Nantes carrots, Bolthardy beetroot and Russian courgette/squash hybrids (don’t know what these are called in English, but they’re known as ‘Kobachok’ in Russian).

The missus and I are stuffed to the gills with veg every night.

Posted on 1st July 2009
Under: Brassicas, Potatoes, Roots, Summer | 3 Comments »

Early to rise: Ratte potatoes

Early potatoes: RatteRatte potatoes aren’t strictly first earlies. OK, so they’re not even earlies – by the book.

But if you bung ’em in with your first earlies they make a decent size by mid July, and that’s when I most like them. They make the most utterly delicious salad potatoes.

By the way, dear reader: do you earth up all in one go at planting time… or earth up bit by bit as the haulms grow? I have a lively debate with other gardeners about this, because I’m convinced you get bigger plants and more potatoes by earthing up gradually.

Anyone gonna persuade me I’m wrong!?

Posted on 24th April 2009
Under: Potatoes | 8 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 »