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Spud Grubber's Blog

Guy Barter

  • Date Joined: 15 Jan 2007

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Spud planting

Posted by Guy Barter on 08 Apr 2009 at 08:23 AM

With the ‘Accent’ early potatoes emerging beneath fleece and polythene it was time to plant the rest of the earlies and second earlies.

First early ‘Lady Christl’ was set out in two rows at 50cm centres, allowing 30cm between tubers.  The ‘Accent’ should crop in June. ‘Lady Christl’ in June/July and then it will be the turn of the second earlies.

Second early ‘Charlotte’ went into two rows at 70cm centres allowing 40cm between the rather large seed tubers.  The last second early ‘Vivaldi’ followed but the smaller seed tubers were planted 35cm apart.

A row of  the maincrop ‘Robinta’ were also planted on 75cm centres and 35cm between tubers. This high yielding drought resistant red is the mainstay of winter supplies.  Two more rows will be planted later when the risk of frost is lower.  The rows planted so far amount to about as much as can be protected if frosty nights threaten later in April or in early May.  The remainder of the potato crop will be planted in the middle of April when, by the time shoots emerge, the frost risk will be negligible.

To add variety, some salad potatoes, ‘Belle de Fontenay’ were planted.  The old cultivars ‘Peach Bloom’ and ‘Shetland Black’ were also planted, just a few tubers of each for variety.    Dark fleshed potatoes such as 'Shetland Black' have been found to have high levels of anthocyanins that are considered to have benefits for health.   In fact, in North America new dark fleshed forms have recently been bred: www4.agr.gc.ca/resources/prod/doc/pfra-arap/PDF/rainbow-coloured_potatoes-e.pdf 

I have also invested in five disease-free mini-tubers of ‘Yetholm Gypsy’, a heritage black potato.  The expensive mini-tubers will be bulked up to serve as seed for next year.  To maintain their disease free status they are being grown in large pots of peat-free growing media in the back garden with the most rigorous control of greenfly that carry potato virus diseases.  They will be grown for a crop next year.

Comments

sue1002 said:

I like the sound of the 'Robinta', how do they compare against 'Sarpo Mira' in terms of size, yield and are they slug resistant?

on 08 Apr 2009 at 09:24 AM

Guy Barter said:

Robinta is a typical Dutch red with firm yellow high dry matter flesh that is good for most uses and yields very heavily; much like Desiree, which is similarly drought resistant.  I cannot grow Desiree as it is very susceptible to common scab. I find Sarpo Mira good too, but they are more floury and also get scab.  Sarpo mira needs no blight spray but does not seem to have the drought resistance we need on dry sandy soils in the south-east.  Slugs are few on sandy soils, but on wetter soils I would grow Romano which seems to survive slugs and is a fair Desiree substitute but lacks drought resistance.  Robinta, unlike Sarpo Mira, also has some resistance to potato cyst nematode always very common on allotment sites...

on 08 Apr 2009 at 10:47 AM

sue1002 said:

Thanks Guy, I will keep Robinta in mind for next year.

on 08 Apr 2009 at 01:25 PM