We are both keen to get a plot, but in the meanwhile we are having to re-evaluate our growing methods and most importantly, what we grow. Our growing space is very small to say the least. Last year we grew most of our vegetables in pots, but this year we are really keen to get things in the ground that we do have.
Potatoes were one of the things that I had considered not growing this year. Last year we had some poor luck with growing them in old compost sacks, which we had been assured was a great way of growing them. I am still enviable of people who get results when using this method, it obviously just didn't work for us. The reason that I am not giving up on potatoes is the fond memories I have of harvesting sacks full of large, delicious spuds on the allotment. Hopefully, come the summer our homegrown potatoes will be the staple of many delicious meals for us.
We really need potatoes to work for us, because they are going to take up a large portion of our growing space. About 1/3 to be precise. Therefore, it's key that our preperations start now.
There are always 4 steps when growing potatoes and we are now at the second step.
We have chosen which potatoes we are going to grow (step 1). There is always such a wide variety of seed potatoes around at this time of year. The garden centres are full of them! We decided that this year we are going to grow a maincrop variety only. (Although I have been tempted to give some earlies another go in the sack method.) After careful consideration, we plumped for the good, old, faithful Maris Piper. Such a versatile and traditional potato, it can be used for most things such as chipping, roasting, boiling and their good size means they are also great for jackets!
Step 2, is a rather funny step. It's time to get chit-chit-chit-chit-chitting. 'Chitting' is basically where you allow your seed potatoes to develop their 'eyes' ready for planting out in mid-March. It takes about 20-40 days for the eyes on the potatoes to develop. It is a very funny stage in the potato growing cycle, just seeing the kitchen table full of egg boxes holding rather funny looking eggs (potatoes) is quite novel!
Having written this blog post, I am now even more tempted to buy a few early seed potatoes and try the sack method again. I might invest in some proper potato growing bags though, rather than use old compost sacks.
Which variety/ies have you gone for this year? I've always loved the idea of a really good mix, but at the moment we do not have the space to do so.
I can't wait until I post about the results of these in several months time. I am hoping they give better results than last year, where in one of the bags full we only got 1 good sized potato. Never mind and fingers crossed!!