It’s not about the Potatoes…

posted in: Living in Yorkshire | 3

Well…actually it is. Yesterday we went off and bought some potatoes and onion sets. The onions always seem to grow very well our main problem this year has been storing them with all the damp conditions this winter. So…back to the spuds. We haven’t bought as many types this year as the idea is to grow a broader variety of vegetables and salad crops. Last year the spuds seemed to take over the veg beds and one half of the veg patch and whilst the Vivaldi crop were particularly good the others were a bit disappointing and did not store well.


Growing potatoes
Before taking over the entire bed and patch


This year we have bought Vivaldi again, this is a second early and I particularly like this potato. I’m not keen on floury types as they seem to disintigrate when boiling and if you love your mash and a spud which keeps its form like I do, then this is not good. Vivaldi has a good taste and a buttery, waxy texture. It’s as good on a salad as it is on a veggie dinner. It is a new potato type.


Vivaldi seed


The other type we have bought is a maincrop variety called Maya Gold. We haven’t grown this before so it will be interesting to see what they grow, look and taste like. This potato originates from Peru and has a nutty flavour so I look forward to sampling them later in the year.


Maya Gold begining to sprout


A few potato facts.

Now we have our seed we need to chit them. This involves putting them in a cool, light place so they can start to sprout as the Maya Gold above. I usually put ours in some useful egg boxes then place them in the kitchen next to the window (space being a bit limited.) This normally takes about six weeks and hopefully several sturdy shoots will have sprouted.


Chitting potatoes


We can plant the second earlies about mid April and they should be ready to crop around June or July. With earlies we can wait for the flowers to die back or drop and check to see if they are ready to lift.

With the maincrop we can plant those again about mid to late April and they should be ready to crop around September or early October. We can harvest these once the halum (foliage) has turned brown and completley died back.


Vivaldi potatos
Last years Vivaldi spuds


Potatoes are great for growing in ground which has been recently made into a veg patch. They are very good at breaking up the ground and the dense foliage will help to supress weeds. They are best grown in a sunny spot and if there is still a risk of frost it is good to protect the new foliage with fleece. Something we found out last year when an unexpected frost caught the new growth. When the halum is about 22cm in height they can be earthed up. A hoe or other suitable impliment can be used to draw the soil up around the stems to make a ridge, bearing in mind to keep the leaves exposed so the plant can continue to grow. It’s always good to water well in dry sunny spells particularly when the tubers are forming and swelling.

Underground is where the magic happens and hopefully I will be able to report a successful crop later in the year.

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Landscape / planting designer

My partner and I run a design led garden and landscape business situated in the beautiful Ryedale countryside of North Yorkshire. I have loved art and design all my life and studied this for several years culminating in a ceramics degree from UWIC university in Cardiff. I have interests in many things and over the years have developed a love of plants. So...I decided to combine these two passions and as a result I am now studying a degree in Garden Art and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University.

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3 Responses

  1. Sonia (fluffy )

    Hi Fiona, great blog on spuds. Thank u for the info on chitting & growing spuds. Iv not had a successful onion set take off yet, any ideas?

    • Fiona

      Hurrah it worked Sonia. Hmmm…onions, hey. I tell you what I’ll make my next post about onions as we have bought some sets.

  2. Yorkshirelad

    Very interesting, I didn’t about know about the halum.