Update on our potato project – success!

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placed in a sunny but windy corner

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Growing potatoes in compost bags

It’s been a while … holidays, trips away and changes to computer and software have meant keeping up with this blog has been tricky. And though none of us feel we’ve had a summer even here in the south of England, the gardens have been growing rapidly during June and July because of regular rain, so just keeping plants under some control has taken quite a bit of energy. Of course, they will do their own thing anyway, which is one of the joys of gardening.

Sarpo mira and Sharpes express

Sarpo mira and Sharpes express

Our ‘experiment’ this year was growing potatoes in old compost bags, using a mixture of proprietary compost and our own kitchen-waste compost: good to use resources which otherwise would have been waste to extend our growing area. We sowed four seed potatoes each in three bags, using three different varieties: first earlies ‘Sharpes Express’, second earlies ‘Charlotte’ and the main crop disease-resistant ‘Sarpo Mira’. Unfortunately, we managed to misplace the markers reminding us which bag was which, so we harvested them all at the beginning of July.

This was also because the weather conditions during June had been unstable: heavy rain, then no rain but high winds and cool temperatures. The compost sacks were in a sunny but windy corner – and there was precious little sun. By early July, the leaves and stalks had got damaged – I don’t think it was blight as it was too early though there was certainly a lot of moisture in the air which would have favoured blight.

I think these were Charlottes

I think these were Charlottes

We didn’t have a massive crop, but it was a successful one: two lots of white potatoes and the Sarpo Mira – which can be harvested in late September – were a red variety. All were delicious, divided up between the three or four of us present and cooked that evening. What was perhaps most memorable was the excitement of splitting open the compost bags and digging around to find the potatoes. We were assisted in this by a four-year-old neighbour who giggled delightedly every time we pulled out another potato!

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