Which Potatoes?

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mamos
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Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223681Post mamos »

Hi All

We managed to secure an allotment yesterday :cheers: and it looks huge. I am interested in experimenting with square foot gardening but this isn't going to cover a quarter of the plot.

I want to try and use the majority of the plot because there are a lot of plots at the allotments that are overgrown and scruffy and I want to convince the man in charge that we are going to keep up with the work on the site.

He has offered to clear the site of grass and weeds using 'Round up' which he says will have no effect on the soil or vegetables we grow but I'm not so sure. I have a petrol strimmer so I will attack the grass and weeds with that. I don't want it to turn into a mud bath.

Anyway back to the original title. I would like to put in a large crop of potatoes but there is no point growing a variety that is commonly available in the shops so what I am looking for is an interesting, good tasting potato that is good for boiling, mashing and baking.

It also needs to store well

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223688Post oldjerry »

I'm not a fan of gardening with chemicals,and there's hundreds of thousands of people who will tell you that glyphosate is evil toxic death,and,no doubt, still more web sites that have living proof of the same thing,but to be honest,one off,clearing a large area,waant to do it thoroughly?,and someone else paying for it? no contest.
Spuds? Plenty of earlies(I love Sharpes Express), maincrops are cheap as round your way.

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chilitony
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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223701Post chilitony »

I have ready got my seed pots as follows:
1st early-ulster sceptre, 2nd early-charlotte & main crop-pink fir apple (X2). :cooldude:
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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223711Post The Riff-Raff Element »

The bloke with the sprayer is right: Roundup breaks down very quickly and leaves no toxic residues to contaminate crops.

There is a "but" of course and that is that it is indiscriminate and will kill pretty much everything including potentially beneficial "weeds" that you might in other circumstances you might want to keep.

Spuds are an excellent clearing crop: big leaves and the method of cultivation is a wonder for getting rid of weeds.

Charlotte is a favourite of mine, and for main crop I think something nicely old fashioned like King Edward is a good bet.

Have fun. :mrgreen:

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223740Post darkbrowneggs »

I grow a selection of potatoes for different cooking purposes. Take a look at Alan Romans list - the prices are fair and quality seems fine. I used to buy from Thomson and Morgan, but am happy with his spuds now http://www.alanromans.com/ I also get some of my shallots from him and did well with them last year

The descriptions on the site are useful, and he has a little booklet you can buy for a couple of pounds which gives even more info

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223743Post MKG »

I'm on Oldjerry's side here. If you're faced with an unknown which is in any way overgrown and it's your first time - hit it with a bomb.

As Riff-Raff points out, glyphosphate breaks down rapidly in the soil and, let's face it, you're probably only going to use it once. There is a big fat zero amount of horror stories about a single application, except from people who delight in making up horror stories about anything which could be described as "chemical" (which includes pretty much everything).

Take up your man on his offer - it saves you a lot of sore backs, it gets you brownie points with the allotment mafia and, as you'll follow it with potatoes, you've solved most of your weed problems in one fell swoop.

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223764Post Odsox »

mamos wrote:there is no point growing a variety that is commonly available in the shops
I sort of understand what you're saying here, but would like to ask that if you like some variety "that is commonly available in shops" why won't you grow it yourself ?
Working on that philosophy you won't be growing any other vegetables then apart from really weird ones that are not available elsewhere.:lol:
As I said, I sort of understand your point, but as you are a bit concerned about glycophosphate, did you know that potato growers spray herbicide on their 2nd earlies to kill the haulm and make the spuds all ripen when the grower decides, rather than nature ?
Maybe growing your own is a good idea regardless of whether you can buy them cheaply in supermarkets.
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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223775Post gregorach »

You definitely want to go for a selection of varieties, not just one. That way you get a succession of crops, and you're not snookered if one doesn't cope well with local conditions. There's a lot to be said for tracking down varieties which are either local or come from somewhere with similar conditions. Up here I favour varieties like Pentland Javelin and Arran Victory. I'd also say that if you've got plenty of space, it's worth sticking in some "novelties" for variety - Salad Blue did very well for me last year and I'd definitely grow it again.

My personal favourite potato is Sharpe's Express - a truly delicious first early, but not the easiest to find

I'd also agree that, for initial clearance, nuking the site from orbit with glyphosate is the way forward (unless you're prepared to wait a year for an exclusion mulch to do the job). Especially with your typical persistent allotment weeds like couch grass, bindweed and equisetum - strimming does no good at all, digging is basically futile, and rotovating would be actively counter-productive.
Cheers

Dunc

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223780Post wulf »

This year I'm trying potatoes for the first time. Three funky selections from http://www.jbaseedpotatoes.co.uk/ : Shetland Black (dark skins and a black band inside), Salad Blue (purply blue skin and flesh) and Highland Burgandy Red (red skins and flesh) as well as some unidentified ones a friend sent.

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223814Post grahamhobbs »

gregorach wrote:...........I'd also agree that, for initial clearance, nuking the site from orbit with glyphosate is the way forward (unless you're prepared to wait a year for an exclusion mulch to do the job). Especially with your typical persistent allotment weeds like couch grass, bindweed and equisetum - strimming does no good at all, digging is basically futile, and rotovating would be actively counter-productive.
Good advice and I know spraying everything with Roundup makes sense, but I could never bring myself to do it and I've had about 5 allotments in my life, all taken on when they were completely overgrown. My current one is close on a quarter of an acre and had brambles in one section so thick and tall that no one realised there was a shed and greenhouse under them.

So if you don't use Roundup what are you letting yourself in for? Well if you want to cultivate it all this year, then you are in for a lot of forking the ground over, breaking up the clods and picking out every bit of root you find to a depth of 8" or 9". If you choose the wrong time of year this can take well over an hour per square meter. If you catch the soil at the right time, not too wet and not too dry, it is a lot easier, but it is still slow tedious work. And before you start digging like this you need to cut all the weeds down and skim the top 1" or so off the soil. I'd allow on average about an hour and a half for every square meter - how big is your allotment?

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223815Post Big Al »

FWIW I would go the glyphosate route in the first year and then convert to organic growing after that. As for varieties we were in a garden centre the tother weekend and Unwins had some potatoe sets in small bags of 6 organic spuds or 10 normal sets. They had many, many different varieties of first earlies, second earlies main crop and salad spuds so why not buy a good selection of each of these type packets and grow a large selection of all the different types available in maybe a square meter set up similar to the square ft gardening you are planning.

good luch anyway as you will need it.

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223823Post oldjerry »

If you cant bring yourself to use glyphosate,find a friendly neighbour with a holding number and see if they can get you some ammonium sulphamate(wholesale supplier in Hayle).I've never used it but way back those self important corporatist B------s otherwise known as The soil Association,used to recommend it as a substitute.(so it must be organic!!)

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223842Post gregorach »

It's also worth finding out whether there's a "Potato Day" anywhere near you - round here, there's one every year where you can buy individual seed tubers from a wide selection of varieties. I find it much better than getting stuck with a 3kg bag of a single variety.
Cheers

Dunc

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223866Post The Riff-Raff Element »

oldjerry wrote:If you cant bring yourself to use glyphosate,find a friendly neighbour with a holding number and see if they can get you some ammonium sulphamate(wholesale supplier in Hayle).I've never used it but way back those self important corporatist B------s otherwise known as The soil Association,used to recommend it as a substitute.(so it must be organic!!)
Don't know about the UK, but this has been retired in France due to lack of data about it's effect on livestock and domestic animals. It is very good at destroying woody stuff, but it does hang around for quite a bit longer than glyphosphate, which might be a consideration if using it.

I read somewhere today that glyphosphate resistance in wild species is increasing: it's not clear whether this is due to gene transfer from GM crops or because the planting of GM crops has simply speeded up a natural evolution through farmers changing their spraying pattens (and in some cases, no doubt, being tempted to slosh the stuff around more :drunken: ). Whatever the cause, it's just another example of stuff that could be useful when used in sensible moderation to deal with special cases being used to excess and becoming obselete.

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Re: Which Potatoes?

Post: # 223870Post wulf »

I think I'd try to do it without using the chemicals although, pragmatically, it might depend what weeds your plot is covered with. A mass of bindweed might be a temptation to start with an extreme solution; grass and dandelions and the like are less noxious.

It also depends on what the neighbouring plots are like. If they are immaculate you certainly need to get on top of the weed problem and keep it under control - don't even let the dandelions get to "clock" (seed bearing) stage. On the other hand, if they are pretty weed ridden, an empty plot is just going to be an invitation for recolonisation as soon as the glyphosphate has been neutralized. Clearing more than you can easily maintain is going to tempt you to return for further doses of the poison!

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