Friday, 22 January 2010

2010 - Third year for this soiler toiler

The snow which gripped the nation has finally gone in East Anglia - Its gloomy outside but each day brings a couple more minutes of daylight.

A little stump no larger than a coconut is all that is left of our snowman, hopefully he'll have melted by the rain today and we'll have had the last of the snow for the year.

I'm sowing Salads, spring onions in the house and digging out my packet of Giant cabbage for planting this weekend. Apparently they can grow to monsterous proportions. Its way to cold to germinate anything in my little greenhouse outside so they will get a window box in an unheated bedroom once germinated.

The Brunswick Giant Cabbage

The search for sources of potatoes is back on, so as the get the best seeds available and to get them well chitted for March or April depending on the weather.

Winter seems to be racing along now and in only a couple of months the food factory will be back in full swing. It may be cold and gloomy outside but I'll have to wrap up and carry on with the preperation of my plot if I am to get the most from the short growing season.

Last year was my "year of the tatty". I went to the Suffolk and Essex potato fair on the 14th February. There were so many varieties of potato to choose from it went to town buying about 140 seeds of different type and varieties. If you are growing potato in your veg patch this year I would definately recommend going to one. They are organised events around the country where you can also buy seeds and tools.

My family had never been fans of the "new potato". Being tricky to peel because of its size and the fact they are not keen on eating the skins. However the "Pixies" were a great success. Their little pink eyes were a novelty to the kids who were happy to eat them mashed with skins on. The blight resistant sarpo's and the Mayan gold were the disappointments from the main crops. Sarpos being an inferior cooker and the Mayans being of good quantity but too small and in cumbersome for my wife and mother law to appreciate. The reliable Desiree was the most appreciated main crop for uniformity, flavour and minimal slug and wireworm damage. The Anya was to die for, a revelation in the kitchen.

I'll be scaling back the potato growing this year to about half of that of 2009. It was backbreaking work and brought a tear to my eye as my lower back popped on a couple of occasions whilst earthing up and had to take time off from work. Will be growing more Main crop than Earlies as they kept better but will have a small mixture to ensure I get to enjoy freshly dug spuds throughout the season.

If you are planning on growing potatoes I'd love to hear which varieties you intend to grow and why.