Meh has not been a word the kids use for quite some time now, but it best sums up the potato harvest, at least at mid-year. There is hope for the second earlies and the mains, but the extra early and early potatoes seem to have suffered from the rather hard frost that we had back in May.
The “Swift” extra earlies were planted in mid March in large recycled compost bags, filled with my own home-made compost. “Me” thought it was super clever to do extra earlies in bags (five tubers in three bags) since they could be moved into the greenhouse in the event of a frost. Six weeks later “Also Me” could not be bothered to make the five-minute journey to the allotment when frost was forecast in the middle of the week and thought “pah, they’ll be fine”.
Two days later what had been three bags filled with rather lush foliage was reduced to two and a half bags of mush. I tried to keep them going, but two were done for. There were some potatoes, but not many. This was a barely half-filled three liter pot… The third bag did pull through, but can no longer be classified as “extra early”. They are now flowering, in Mid-July. Hopefully though this is a good sign and a decent but delayed harvest will be had.
The first early variety, the much bally-hooed Lady Christl, also suffered. Putting down some fleece probably would have helped, but again, I was lazy. Eight (maybe even ten??) tubers went in, but only two seed trays worth of potatoes came out. Perhaps I should have weighed them for reference, but I didn’t – again too busy/lazy. Many other bloggers, including the excellent The Event Gardener would, perhaps rightly*, argue that it should be about quality not quantity. Maybe this is normal for the variety – it’s my first time growing this one, so am not fully sure what to expect. They have definitely lived up to the hype taste-wise, and are especially good in a herby-mayonnaisey potato salad!
Looking forward, the second earlies and the mains seem to be doing reasonably well. If I keep watering them, picking off the flowers and cross fingers that there is no blight this year, they should keep us in potatoes well past Christmas dinner. Here’s hoping!
* One possible exception to the quality over quantity might be the Giant Pumpkin competition. Am feeling left out having not had a go at that this year 😦