You’ve got to love an impromptu trip to a Potato Day! Well I do…
I didn’t need any more seed potatoes, I already have too many, but that didn’t stop me suddenly pulling in to West Oxford Community Centre last week did it? No!
The mind reading and slightly un-nerving skills of Facebook meant I was sent a notification advising that the West Oxford Potato Day was taking place just down the road from my current location. So I decided it would be silly not to pop along.
What a wonderful decision it was too, over 80 seed potato varieties to choose from, more than I have ever seen including the favourites, King Edward and Charlotte. But also many unusual ones too, such as Blue Danube, Vitelotte Noire and Highland Burgundy Red.
The extra fantastic thing about these Potato Days that run around the country thanks to Pennard Plants, is that you can buy the tubers individually for only 24p.
In my mind this is a genius idea, especially as it allows the buyer to grow many different varieties if they wished and in a small space or bags.
I put my hands up, I didn’t come away empty-handed either…whoops!
A whole bag of goodies ended up in the car, including two different potato varieties; Purple Majesty and Blue Danube. I bought 4 tubers of each, with the plan to trial them in grow bags over the coming year.
Purple Majesty are as the name would suggest, a vivid dark purple! Yes, purple mash and roasties will be on my plate come Summer. The variety are labelled as a new Early Maincrop American bred variety. It roasts, mashes, bakes, boils and produces outstanding chips and crisps. As well as most importantly retains its colour once cooked! No disappointment like you get with purple French beans.
The blight resistant, early maincrop variety, Blue Danube are all also very unusual in colour just as you would guess…can you see a theme here for my plot?! As much colour both above and under ground as possible! I also wanted to try a few varieties that would get young ones excited about GYO and after a few conversations with my niece and the school children I work with through Life at No.27, they appeared to be a winner.
The shopping didn’t stop there as I said, I also skipped away with 3 grow bags for these spuds and two Dahlia Tubers. You can’t have too many dahlias brightening up the plot. Plus don’t forget that you can eat the tubers too, a strange but true fact!
I left feeling very pleased with my spontaneous outing and headed straight home to get the seed potatoes into egg cartons and growing as soon as possible.
Why egg cartons you may ask? Well, before you plant your potatoes there is a little trick you can do to speed up the growing process and give your spuds an extra boost. It is a process called ‘chitting’, hence the blog title.
For those new to GYO, the sprouts you get on potatoes when you haven’t used them quick enough are called chits. It is these growths which then start to grow into the potato plants when planted in soil.
To understand chitting in a really simple way and so you can do it yourself, I have created a 1 minute How-To video just for you. Click the thumbnail below to watch it now.
You can also find out my top tips for growing my allotment favourite by checking out my recent chat with Mike from the The Vegetable Gardening Show. Just click the link here.
If you still have any questions then of course comment below or email me too.
What potato varieties are you growing this year? Sticking with the trusty favourites or splashing out a bit and going quirky?