On Saturday I visited one of my favourite garden centres. Not for anything in particular, just to kill a bit of time as it was my hubbies birthday and I was early for his surprise family party! It also gave me opportunity to have a browse around at some of the new stock that they may have had.
I was surprised to see that the shelves were bursting at the seems with so many varieties of seed potatoes. I had made a decision last year that on my allotment I wasn’t going to grow potatoes in the ground and solely stick to growing them in pots at home. The reason being is that I do suffer with back pain at times and for me to physically dig the tubers when they are ready is quite difficult.
However, my allotment neighbour, Andy has kindly offered to dig up my potatoes for me when I need them if I did decide to grow them. After all, how many allotment plots do you see without potatoes growing?
With this kind gesture in mind I suddenly saw the array of seed potatoes in a whole new light! The dormant seed potatoes were being sold in 2.5 kg bags and they were priced at £2.99; quite reasonable I thought especially as it didn’t come with postage costs on top. They were separated into the varying categories such as early, salad, second early, main crop and heritage varieties. After browsing through the selection for a longer than ususal time frame, I finally purchased three bags of the seed potatoes that were on display.
Firstly I chose a salad potato called Nicola. Highly sentimental reasons made me choose this particular variety as the name reminded me of someone very close to me. My second choice of potato were Red Duke of York. This potato comes highly recommended from Dan at allotment-diary. My third variety were another salad variety called Pink Fir Apple. I chose these purely for the fact that I have never seen them in the shops but have heard of this variety many times. It also served to be one of the new types of varieties of vegetables that I plan on introducing at my allotment this year.
Whilst I was in the garden centre I also managed to get some Stuttgart giant onion sets and I also acquired some electric red onion sets. Well, I do have an extra raised beds to fill now so why not fill them with some of the staples that my family use in great quantities, whilst also trying out new varieties at the same time.
Wanting to give my potatoes I headstart, I started the chitting process. I placed the potatoes in an empty egg tray with the rose end pointing upwards. (You can buy specially made chitting trays or you could even use a seed tray, but I find that a large egg container will suffice). The rose end of the potato is the one with the tiny shoots that will grow into stubby little shoots. The chitting process is very important as it allows the seed potatoes to come out of their dormant state and produce new shoots ready to grow on into the haulms (the leafy growth).
See my post on Spot light on ……potatoes for more details on how to grow them and the types of potatoes available.