Saturday, 13 April 2013

Potatoes I Planted This Year

Planted potatoes today, March 31st.

Is a bit (week or two) earlier than I usually do them, but our weather has been stunning so the beds are dry and ready to go....

This year I am carrying seed potatoes at the greenhouse and so decided to plant up one package of each variety I have.
Want to test them out, see if we find any new favourites...

The tried and true with us are the fingerling types as we always plant Bananas and red French Fingerling's.

Am most excited to try out the Carlita's and the new Orchestra potatoes.
They are both organically grown, but most importantly, are both said to be drought tolerant. We have drought here on the island each summer. Rains all winter and dry as dust all summer long.
If I can water these guys less, maybe much less, it means a lot less work for me ...  and saves on water, of course! ; )

Here are the varieties, once again, that I am carrying at the shop and growing in the garden this year ....

Early seed potato varieties - These spuds bulk up quickly which makes them great for early picking as baby potatoes. They can also be left in longer (as mid-season potatoes) to get a good skin on them so that they will store well, and are a medium-large size.
- Red Sangre's ... smooth red skin and very white flesh. Gorgeous. Is a great boiler and a baker.
- Carlita's are organically grown, with yellow skin and yummy yellow flesh. Drought resistant. Is also a yummy boiler and a baker.
- Gold Rush is a Yukon Gold type, organically grown seed potato. Is a russet with lovely very white flesh. Fabulous baked, boiled or fried.

Mid-Season seed potatoes
- Buttery flavoured German Butterball is extremely popular with golden flesh and skin and a buttery flavour so needs very little toppings. Great for hash browns, steamed or baked. Stores well, too.

- Plus all the Early spuds listed above also belong in this grouping ... unless you eat them all as early new babies.

Late season seed potatoes
- Banana's (the family fave!) are yummy, pale skinned fingerling's with light yellow flesh. They are delicious, waxy and hold together well, so are perfect for salads! We roast, grill or boil them... makes a great 'squished' spud ;)
- Red French Fingerling's, also waxy and one of the most popular fingerling varieties. Buttery flavour makes them amazing for roasting or grilling, hold together well so great for soups and stews.
- Orchestra is an organically grown seed potato with pale skin and light yellow flesh. It has a creamy buttery flavour, is waxy so makes a super potato salad. Is also drought tolerant and does well in adverse conditions.
- Super tasty Russian Blue's. These guys have dark blue skin and light blue flesh.. and taste like a normal potato! Is drought tolerant, great baked, mashed, steamed, boiled, or made into french fries or chips.

Russian Blue seed potato has been chitted up and is ready to go....
Love how the sprouts are a deep purple!
The potatoes have been chitted (were placed in egg cartons and got to hang out in my bedroom for 2 or 3 weeks in order to sprout new growth.)

They now have lovely little sprouts on them and are ready to go into the prepared garden beds. These guys could easily have stayed in my bedroom for another two weeks if they had to as it is not good to turn or mess around with wet soil.

I plant the traditional way, in trenches, hilling the spuds as they sprout and grow.

The seed potatoes are placed in the trench, 6 to 12 inches apart, and 4 inches deep. 
For new baby potatoes, they can be planted close together. When grown 6 to 8 inches apart you get smaller spuds, while further apart (12 inches) makes for larger potatoes.
As the potato plant grows and the tops get to be about 6 inches tall, cover them with another 4 inches of soil, leaving just the top few inches showing. You keep doing this until the trenches are where the hills are now and the hills are on top of the spuds.

See here for a detailed how-to for planting potatoes, with photos.

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