After our seed choosing session, Threadspider and I decided it would be great to do the same with our potato order. They arrived last week and we met up at my house to divide the spoils. We'd both chosen one of our favourite croppers from last year, plus we gave a little nod to nostalgia by each choosing a variety our fathers liked to grow. I chose Harlequin and Pentland Javelin, Threadspider went for Vivaldi (the potato lower in carbohydrate) and Ulster Chieftain. It also meant we shared postage costs between us, our size of order qualified for a free bag of Dunluce and we can grow more varieties than usual without having to resort to buying massive quantities, nor using up half our plots to grow them. Result!
We've decided not to order any maincrop or late potatoes - blight's been so bad up at the site the past couple of years and we're not going for any of the Sarpo varieties (blight resistant) to compensate. Having harvested a massive bag of spuds is one thing, but actually we've found the flavour and cooking qualities aren't that great - however, our findings seem to be different to what others say who've tried them. I'm also skeptical of the slug resistance claims - no-one seems to have told the slugs up at my plot they're not supposed to like them - though this article has some interesting observations on why I might differ on both the taste and slug resistance fronts (I might have left them in too long). Earlies aren't meant to be that good for keeping, but we've found Harlequin and Vivaldi are much better than most. Neither of our crops from last year has done much in the way of softening and sprouting yet - pretty good seeing we're close to the end of January.
It's been rather nice to do something positive in the gardening line after what feels like weeks of inactivity and dreaming. The potatoes are now laid out on the windowsill in the dining room to start chitting and I even managed to get up to the plot on Sunday for a while. The chilly wind certainly helped to blow the cobwebs away!
Have a look here for more information on the types of potato (early, maincrop etc.) and the chitting technique. The database I've linked to in the first paragraph gives you a lot more information on the varieties we've chosen and can be used to search for details of any other ones you may be interested in growing this year.