It starts

Yesterday afternoon I recieved an intriguing email, telling me that a parcel I’d ordered would be delivered today. Racking my brains, I couldn’t remember ordering anything, so deduced that either

  • OH had been let loose on Amazon again
  • I’d been online shopping after wine (like drunk texting – never a good idea!)

Anyway, the doorbell went this morning, and sure enough, Mr Postie was there, brandishing a fairly heavy box with my name on it.

Seed potatoes

I could hardly contain my excitement as I brought it inside, and I eagerly set to work ripping through the industrial staples that held the thing together. Spying the contents, I allowed myself a little internal ‘Hooray!’… the new gardening year is well and truly on its way… my seed potatoes have arrived.

Last year, the spuds didn’t do too well. The ones in tyres never appeared, and I seemed to be forever rescuing the ones in the ground from my ever increasing slug population. That’s why I must have decided to hedge my bets and order not two – but SIX varieties to grow this year. They were marketed in the catalogue as ‘Allotment favourites‘, and I reasoned that with some being first earlies, some second earlies and some maincrop, I may just have a chance at success this year… Oh yes!

The varieties were:

  • First earlies – Orla and Lady Christl
  • Second earlies – Kestrel
  • Early main -Balfour and Sante
  • Late main – Cara

Perusing the planting schedule for each kind, it looks as though the earlies go in during February, and the rest are planted in March. I’ll have to label them up well so I can keep track of what went where, so they get dug up at the right time.

I’ve also decided to try something new this year. Half of the Lady Christl are going to be planted in a container in the greenhouse later on this month. Just to see what happens. If I can harvest some super-earlies, I’ll be more than happy. The greenhouse is insulated, and once the temperature really drops I’ll keep it frost free with my trusty paraffin heater. I’ve got an old recycling bag that the council used to take cardboard away in… so will make some drainage holes in the bottom and plant the potatoes in there. Once the weather warms up (assuming they’re growing), it will be an easy enough job to move the bag to a sunny spot outside to finish off. Plus it will make room in the greenhouse for all the other crops I hope to be growing.

So with that in mind, six of the Lady Christl seed potatoes are currently camping out in the conservatory in an egg box. As it’s cool and bright in there, it should provided the ideal conditions for the spuds to throw up little shoots – or chits. These will help the potatoes get established more quickly once they are in the soil.

Lady Christl - chitting

Lady Christl – chitting

What’s your top varieties and top tips for spud growing?

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