Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Potatoes: Heart Over Head

Jazzy potatoes unearthed from a small bag of compost

Way back in February I told you about the potatoes I was going to grow this year. We're still munching our way through the overall results, but today I can bring you those from my grow-in-a-bag 'Jazzy' trial.

I find growing potatoes is a triumph of my heart over my head. If you look at it purely from an economic point of view, it simply doesn't make sense as spuds are as cheap as chips [actually, they're cheaper - Ed] in the shops.

Yet there's nothing that brings me greater pleasure than my first dig of the year for the treasure buried in my potato patch. Then there's the warmth I felt from bringing home these particular spuds from a mere feet and seconds away, plus I usually choose varieties unavailable in the shops.

In the blurb 'Jazzy' potatoes are touted as yielding up to 80 potatoes from just 8 litres of compost. So how did my trial pack do? My little bag produced 25 potatoes with a total weight of 503 grammes - enough for two dinners each for NAH and me.

Other results I've seen had more than 40 potatoes per bag. However these had many pea-sized spuds; all but one of mine were of a decent size.

I confess I was a bit lax with my watering during the dry period we had early summer, which probably helps to explain the discrepancy in the results. In terms of the amount of compost used and number of tubers planted it's a better result than my air pot trial a few years ago, though unsurprisingly it's not as good as Mark's results with a maincrop potato.

Cooking and taste-wise 'Jazzy' is a typical waxy salad potato. I've yet to find one which beats my beloved 'Harlequin', though I've heard good reports of 'Epicure'.

Will I grow potatoes next year? You bet. If you remain unconvinced, Jono has six great reasons to persuade you.

Update: Helen told me via my Comments she also trialled 'Jazzy' using various composts this year. Her full report is here. For the record I grew mine in Sylvagrow. It turns out Jazzy has its own website (there's posh) and they're available to buy at the Co-op.

Helen's also rootled out a useful RHS trials report which shows 'Jazzy's' yields may be high in terms of numbers, but it might be better to look elsewhere in terms of weight. The reported yields were for 5 tubers in 40 litres of compost, so it looks like our results were slightly better for 1 tuber planted in 8 litres of compost.


  1. I didn't grow potatoes this year, I find they take up a bit too much space. Although I did have a few volunteers, and they were honestly such a treat. I've had quite good results in pots before now, and lovely unblemished potatoes. Maybe next year... CJ xx

  2. Good point CJ about pot grown spuds coming up clean and blemish free. What they lack in yield, they make up for in ease of growing and harvesting.

  3. Interesting. I reported on mine a few weeks ago and have just done the maths. Your harvest is about 2oz heavier, and I had more size variation. I suspect your watering was more efficient than mine, even with the dry period. I've grown Epicure in the past, and they were very good - you've reminded me about them for next year!

    1. Ooh Helen, I must come over and grab your link to add to mine :)

    2. Thank you, Michele! I've added your link to my post too. I'm surprised I haven't seen more reports on Jazzy.

  4. Bought ones may be cheaper but no way do they taste anywhere as good. I'll be growing my usual varieties - Charlotte, Kestrel and Desiree - next year. Flighty xx

    1. Hi Flighty - I've grown all of those in the past with good results, though I haven't spotted much difference in taste with shop bought Desiree. I prefer Harlequin over Charlotte - it's a Charlotte x Pink fir apple cross if memory serves. I shall continue with my quest for top tasting spuds - there are so many to try aren't there? xxx

  5. I had always said I wasn't going to bother growing potatoes, but got seduced by Mark Dianco's writing a couple of years ago and tried Cherie. Gorgeous, but I am going to try something else next year, maybe harlequin!

    1. Hi Janet, I'll try Cherie if you'll try Harlequin :)


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