There’s always a first time for everything and that includes growing spuds. Last year, I bought two seed potato packets from JTF in April and, a couple of weeks later, I planted them in pots of varying sizes. When it was time to dig them out a few months later, in July, I was more than pleasantly surprised to find real potatoes under the stems and leaves in the first pot.
What was in the other four?
Nothing. Not in pot 2, 3, 4 or 5.
So that was a grand total of 11 potatoes.
Out of two seed packets and five pots.
So when it came to this year I had no expectations. This year’s crop came from Wilko’s and cost £1 (so I wasn’t expecting wonders!) They were bought at the end of March and I planted them in May. When it came to August, I started thinking, is it time to dig the ‘Nicolas’ up? When is it too early or too late?
I find timings fairly hard to master in the gardening world.
The weather was odd this year too (I had all the excuses ready for the inevitable disappointment). Even in the north of England, there was a seemingly never-ending heatwave from May to July. I was beginning to wonder if the rain would ever make a reappearance. But of course it did, and when it came back it was as if our old familiar companion had never left us.
This climate could have been to blame for the poor showing of the lettuce this year. Lettuce seeds had been planted in a newly established bed but what came up instead of attractive crisp lettuce?
But myself and Dad decided today was the day when we would see what lies underneath the green potato stalks. Just one tub of five Nicola seed potatoes – what would be the result?
The first stalk was promising – four spuds, no large ones but perfectly sized for salads. Then nothing under the remaining four stalks. But we dug under the soil with our hands and found another, another, another, another and one more…
It was like digging for treasure and this was the gold we found – Nine beautiful brown potatoes.
So okay, not economically viable or a large collection but still, it’s something isn’t it? And what’s more, those organic ‘Nicolas’ tasted extra special too.
Here’s to next year’s crop! 🥔🥔🥔
Facts of the Day
- A tatty/tatties is a Scottish informal word for potato/potatoes. Spud is another slang term.
- According to Oxford Dictionary, the potato is ‘A starchy plant tuber cooked and eaten as a vegetable’. The plant grows underground stems, which ‘swell up with stored food at the tips to form tubers, called potatoes. The ‘eyes’ can grow into new plants using the food stores in the potato’ (Miles Kelly). The word comes from the Spanish patata.
- It comes from the perennial nightshade family (the leaves are poisonous) and was first grown in South America 1800 years ago.
Information courtesy of The Miles Kelly Book of Life