The day has finally arrived… the day that we purchased our seed potatoes! It’s a huge day in the allotment calendar and one of the staple crops that we grow, we eat potatoes a lot of the time so it’s a big deal for us and one of our most important crops. We were out for the day on Sunday looking around a garden centre and on the way back we decided to head to our favourite potato shop, Gilberts Nursery in Sherfield English. This just so happens to be our favourite spot because they sell the potatoes loose (and they have a lovely little tearoom too!) so instead of guessing how many seed potatoes you will get in a pre-packed bag we can select the best looking and correct amount of potatoes that we need.
This year I’ve decided to give myself a little experiment, I’ve selected a few seed potatoes with more than one eye on them so I can cut them in half and plant each piece out. As long as a piece of seed potato has an eye on it then you will supposedly get a potato plant from each piece and I’d love to see if the crop results are any different. This year I’m growing my favourite early salad variety, International Kidney (otherwise known as Jersey Royals) I grow this variety every year and so far they’ve been great, plus the taste is just amazing! There will be 4 rows measuring 3 metres in length with 9 in each row, so therefore I picked out 36 of the best seed potatoes I could find to take home ready to chit. My Dad grows the main potatoes and this year he’s chosen Cara and Maris Piper, his potato beds are a lot bigger than mine so he had to stock up on more seed potatoes but hopefully it will be worth it. Whilst I was there I also treated myself to some loose sugar snap pea seeds, they are just so delicious and I couldn’t resist! Now I just need to figure out where I’m going to grow them…
I always chit my potatoes by sitting them all in a plastic seed tray and leaving them ontop of the fridge. You don’t want to put the potatoes anywhere dark as they will produce long, white sprouts instead of the healthy dark purple, stumpy sprouts that we like best. I leave them to chit until Good Friday (so roughly about 8 weeks) when I traditionally plant them out into trenches. They’ll be ready to harvest in June and enjoyed with lashings of butter, I can’t wait!
If you would like to know more about how to chit, grow and harvest potatoes then head on over to the Youtube channel where you’ll find a handy video guide.