Potato growing 2022

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by JWK, Jan 1, 2022.

  1. JWK

    JWK Gardener Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    25,220
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Surrey
    Ratings:
    +33,850
  2. JWK

    JWK Gardener Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    25,220
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Surrey
    Ratings:
    +33,850
    This year I plan to grow just two varieties:

    Winston - first early. I will grow a few in containers starting in the greenhouse in late February. Then a later batch outside in the ground.

    Sarpo mira - maincrop. These were a real success in 2021 and were not bothered by blight whilst all my neighbour's plots were wiped out at the allotment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2022
  3. Hanglow

    Hanglow Gardener

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2021
    Messages:
    142
    Ratings:
    +478
    Charlotte for me, ever reliable second early that can grow a bit bigger and stores pretty well. I don't grow much though, a couple of square metres.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • JAS

      JAS Gardener

      Joined:
      Jun 2, 2020
      Messages:
      81
      Gender:
      Male
      Occupation:
      Engineer
      Location:
      FIFE
      Ratings:
      +166
      I couldn't get any international kidney seed so going to try Jazzy. I've also ordered King Edward seed. Apart from that will try some more Shetland Black, Mayan Gold and Yetholm Gypsies I've kept back from last year for seed. I think I'm going to struggle for space.
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Jasmine star

        Jasmine star Super Gardener

        Joined:
        Apr 26, 2020
        Messages:
        512
        Gender:
        Female
        Location:
        Lancashire.
        Ratings:
        +1,939
        Last year I grew Albert Bartlett Rooster and Cara. Neither I was really happy with so this year I'm trying King Edward and Pentland Dell.
         
        • Like Like x 1
        • WeeTam

          WeeTam Total Gardener

          Joined:
          Mar 9, 2015
          Messages:
          2,290
          Gender:
          Male
          Ratings:
          +4,895
          Charlotte for me too. Do i go to JBA or Wilkos for them ?

          Might try some supermarket bought Saxon too.

          Edit.
          Picked up Charlotte from Wilko today . Early but everything seems to be hard to get hold of thesedays, so just just in case.
           
          • Like Like x 1
            Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
          • Frazzled

            Frazzled Gardener

            Joined:
            Oct 16, 2021
            Messages:
            25
            Gender:
            Male
            Occupation:
            Garden Coordinator
            Location:
            North Wales
            Ratings:
            +44
            Seeking potato advice! I hope the collective wisdom here can provide a bit of guidance for a newbie.

            I've rescued a sizeable polytunnel in a semi-rural location in the northwest. It's a bit in the shade from overgrowing trees and the soil has been disused for years. My thinking is to use it exclusively for potatoes. The goal is to grow familiar potatoes to donate to a local food bank.

            But here's the thing: the potato crop needs to be extremely low maintenance, as I can only visit a two or three times a week. Ideally, it would be great to just throw the seed potatoes into trenches and water them a few days a week with zero maintenance, only to dig up a vast amount of huge tasty potatoes. (I know, wishful thinking...)

            My current thinking, from doing a bit of research, is to split the polytunnel in half: one half in earlies and the other half maincrop. I'll start chitting in the polytunnel in March as the frost risk is reduced by then.

            Can anyone recommend a variety (or varieties) of low maintenance, high yield, non-exotic, shade happy, polytunnel friendly, disease resistant, low cost, seed potatoes for the earlies and maincrop?
             
            • Like Like x 1
            • JWK

              JWK Gardener Staff Member

              Joined:
              Jun 3, 2008
              Messages:
              25,220
              Gender:
              Male
              Location:
              Surrey
              Ratings:
              +33,850
              Potatoes more or less look after themselves after planting, you may need to earth up once or twice which keeps the weeds down until the leaves form a canopy and prevent weeds getting through. There may be other more pernicious weeds like bramble in there but I'd just plant and deal with them individually if they become a problem.

              They are 'hungry' feeders so you'll need to add some fertilizer, compost/organic preferable but if time is a constraint use an inorganic granular fertilizer such as Growmore. Sprinkle it onto the side of the trenches before filling in at planting time.

              I'd hedge my bets and grow at least a couple of varieties of earlies and maincrop. That way if disease strikes some may resist rather than losing the whole lot.

              For earlies my preference is Winston, a superb taste and heavy early cropper. But other's taste vary so try another type like Rocket as well. Earlies will be lifted prior to blight becoming a problem later in the summer.

              For maincrop I would definitely recommend blight resistant varieties. My choice is Sarpo mira, a good all rounder for mashing, boiling, chipping and jackets. It isn't affected by blight and stores well in the ground. I am still digging mine up when I need them straight from the soil. A few have slug damage, but it's better than trying to lift the whole lot and store as they start to sprout and go soft (that is true for all maincrop not just the Sarpo series). Why not try some traditional well known names like King Edwards and Maris Piper - neither are blight resistant but you have less chance of blight getting in a polytunnel if you take precautions.

              All seed potatoes cost about the same to my knowledge. You can keep costs down by slicing the seed tubers into halves or quarters proving each has a few eyes: see here for how I do it:

              The Tatties Thread 2020
               
              • Informative Informative x 2
              • Like Like x 1
              • JWK

                JWK Gardener Staff Member

                Joined:
                Jun 3, 2008
                Messages:
                25,220
                Gender:
                Male
                Location:
                Surrey
                Ratings:
                +33,850
                PS: grew Setanta in 2020 because I couldn't get seed for Sarpo mira - I would not recommend Setanta now, although blight resistant it's no good for boiling or mash.
                 
                • Informative Informative x 3
                • JWK

                  JWK Gardener Staff Member

                  Joined:
                  Jun 3, 2008
                  Messages:
                  25,220
                  Gender:
                  Male
                  Location:
                  Surrey
                  Ratings:
                  +33,850
                  That is easily achievable, your main task will be watering once the crop gets going, potatoes will respond to both fertilizer and water to get a good yield.
                   
                  • Like Like x 1
                  • Informative Informative x 1
                  • Frazzled

                    Frazzled Gardener

                    Joined:
                    Oct 16, 2021
                    Messages:
                    25
                    Gender:
                    Male
                    Occupation:
                    Garden Coordinator
                    Location:
                    North Wales
                    Ratings:
                    +44
                    That's really helpful. One of the problems I have in the garden is there's no way to take precautions. Many random people wander in and out of it that I can't control. I'm also a vector as I travel between two big gardens, one of which was hit badly by late blight last year. So the potatoes need to be as disease resistant as possible.

                    Another factor is how acceptable the potatoes are to people who use food banks. I've been told by the food bank manager that the supermarkets drop off lots of 'expired sell by date' exotic veg that food bank users won't take. Most food bank users don't have kitchens or equipment for more involved cooking. They may have access to a microwave and that's about it. So, the suggestion is to donate simple familiar veg (in this case potatoes) that people unfamiliar with gardening will accept and use. If I donate an exotic potato with an unfamiliar colour, size or texture, I'm worried it won't be used. So, boring and disease resistant is what I'm aiming for.
                     
                    • Informative Informative x 1
                    • JWK

                      JWK Gardener Staff Member

                      Joined:
                      Jun 3, 2008
                      Messages:
                      25,220
                      Gender:
                      Male
                      Location:
                      Surrey
                      Ratings:
                      +33,850
                      Well if you are donating to a food bank it doesn't really matter what the varieties are, unless you wanted to label them? In that case I would say grow all blight resistant main crop varieties from the Sarpo range, they are all good although not well know within the public. As I said I've only grown Sarpo mira - very nice and looks like a traditional spud with a slight red skin. They were bred in Eastern Europe hence the name, that's the only exotic thing about it.
                       
                      • Like Like x 1
                      • Informative Informative x 1
                      • WeeTam

                        WeeTam Total Gardener

                        Joined:
                        Mar 9, 2015
                        Messages:
                        2,290
                        Gender:
                        Male
                        Ratings:
                        +4,895
                        Im thinking that these potatoes will be needing a lot of watering in a pollytunnel .
                        If blight gets in there it will run riot. Your ventilation will have to be very good and managed.
                        To be honest it sounds like a good cause but will there really be a demand for such low value crop.
                        As said above most food banks get their veg from supermarkets. People are used to washed packaged potatoes now also.

                        Setting up a communal garden scheme may work out better as folk are walking through it anyway ?
                         
                        • Useful Useful x 1
                        • Frazzled

                          Frazzled Gardener

                          Joined:
                          Oct 16, 2021
                          Messages:
                          25
                          Gender:
                          Male
                          Occupation:
                          Garden Coordinator
                          Location:
                          North Wales
                          Ratings:
                          +44
                          The garden projects are two-fold: the people working the garden are from trouble backgrounds. Often, this is the first time they've ever encountered growing plants, or more importantly, exercised empathy and compassion to help others in the wider community. The garden builds a connection of expending effort voluntarily to help others less fortunate than themselves which creates a sense of belonging and purposeful activity. So, while getting a good harvest is important, it's only part of the story. And the produce itself will most likely be used mostly by people associated with the garden with only surplus handed over to food banks or social enterprises.
                          The potato polytunnel can be fully opened for ventilation and we're looking into diy automated watering systems. There's been no history of blight in this particular garden so I'm keeping my fingers crossed there. It's all a bit of an experiment. But the garden has been disused for many years so any attempt at vegetables is at least a step in the right direction.
                           
                          • Like Like x 3
                          • Tomcat

                            Tomcat Gardener

                            Joined:
                            Nov 20, 2021
                            Messages:
                            210
                            Gender:
                            Male
                            Occupation:
                            Cultivating a sense of humus
                            Location:
                            Somerset
                            Ratings:
                            +502
                            @Frazzled , having just read your last post , l think your working with troubled souls is inspiring.
                            Many years ago l was fortunate to be involved as a mentor with a group of young offenders on a commercial nursery and seeing them get involved and then get enthusiastic about plants was amazing. The power of plants ! :smile:
                             
                            • Like Like x 3
                            Loading...

                            Share This Page

                            1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
                              By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
                              Dismiss Notice