|Digging out the Tibets|
|eel worms dining in a spud|
|Black Bog-like priests socks only blacker!|
Inspired by the fine warm day last Friday I took to clearing the main crop potato beds. If nothing else I was curious about the yields from the different varieties that I had as yet untouched; Tibet, Toluca and Black Bog. One long bed had black bog, Tibet's, Maris pipers and King Edwards planted in allotments. The tolucas had their own bed. I started on the black bogs and ran into trouble straight away. They were so black I literally couldn't see them in the soil! ridiculous but true and very frustrating as well. I ended up digging the same ground several times more than necessary just to check in case I missed any. Either way I'm expecting plenty of volunteers next year-it was impossible to find them all.The spuds themselves were small and extremely squashed looking with deep eyes. The yields were small too. Once I wiped the soil off them their true delicious deep purple colour came through. After growing and loving Edzell blues last year I couldn't wait to try out these guys.
|one stalk of Tibets on the left V's|
FIVE of Black Bog on the right!
Down in the Toluca bed things were not good, the stench of rotting spuds hit me every where I dug, and the yields were incredibly poor. When I was finished one 8x4 bed had only yielded one third of a bucket of spuds, and despite some of the tubers being a really good size I could see plenty of blemishes, signs of blight and slugs in equal measure. Not the results I had been hoping for when I planted them months ago, but again maybe that's all you can expect in such a difficult growing season.
|Spuds drying off in the afternoon sun|
Last year I bought some Hessian sacks and had been trying them out during the summer, storing first Earlie's for weeks at a time in the utility to see if they went green. The results were great-no green spuds! so next morning I lined up my sacks, sat at the back door in the sun and began the incredibly tedious job of cleaning(you must take all the excess soil off the skins), inspecting each spud and organising them into three categories; "for storage", "slightly damaged" and "for the compost heap". There really is no escaping this job. If I learnt one thing from my mother in law and her apple picking each autumn it's that you never store anything damaged long term, it only serves to rot the rest. So only the most perfect spuds can make the Hessian sack. All imperfect spuds go into the kitchen bucket to be used or given away in the coming weeks. While those blighted, rotting or tunnelled into oblivion must be cut up for the compost heap. Its funny I never remember doing this job at home, but in some shape or form we must have.
|compost, keep and store long term-the processing plant|
PS; tried the black bogs, yes a fantastic purple colour with lovely markings on the inside, but sadly lacking really great flavour.
|in the kitchen Black bog shows its true colour|
|beautiful white flesh on the inside|