At Hulme Community Garden Centre’s Heritage Potato Day, we bought Salad Blue, Charlotte, Orla and Valor potatoes to grow. Following the success of last years potato growing, I’m starting a little earlier.
Charlotte potatoes are incredibly popular, being a salad potato (waxy) with a full flavour. Charlotte can be planted out early between February and March for harvest in June. They are Winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit (see AGM at the bottom of the post). See my post for last years Charlotte potato harvest.
Orla have a high resistance to blight, they can be grown as a first early in for harvest in August, or maincrop (by leaving to mature) in September – October. We grew these potatoes last year when supplied by Riverford Organics and very please with the tasty results. Orla can be boiled, mashed, baked, chipped or roasted. Bred by Teagasc in Ireland.
Salad Blue potatoes were first grown in Scotland in the early 20th century. It frys and mashes well but doesn’t boil well as its floury. Salad Blue can be planted out early in March ready for harvest between July – August. We are also looking forward to the flowers which are apparently blue with a yellow centre.
Valor is another potato with a high resistance to blight. Plant out in March and harvest in September to be boiled or baked. Valor has a high tolerance of heat and drought. bred by Jack Dunnett in 1993.
Two of the key messages I’ve pickup up lately are to grow for taste (rather than primarily yield) and diversify the plants and species that I grow. I’ll choose my seed potatoes with this in mind next year.
The potatoes have chitted on my windowsill for a few weeks and almost ready to plant. I planted my unknown potatoes on 17th March. The RHS have a useful page on how to grow potatoes. I use potato bags in my yard, and as a general rule, fill the bag with 6 inches of soil, then place up to 3 tubers into the bag, then cover with another 4 inches. Once the plants get to around 23cm tall, I earth up (cover the plants with soil).
I love this wonderful infographic on the potato lifecycle:
What is the AGM?
The RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) helps gardeners to make a practical choice when selecting plants. The criteria can be found on the RHS website here and you can find the list of all AGM plants here.