Tuesday 17 June 2014

Win some, lose some

My potatoes have been generally pretty good this year, but not uniformly so.

These are my "Pink Fir Apple" potato plants (the ones on the right, in the dark green pots)

I had four seed tubers of PFA, and I planted them one to a pot. Initially they all grew at much the same rate (i.e. slow). After a couple of weeks I earthed them up as usual. Three plants continued to grow (despite a severe battering in that amazing hailstorm we had), but one of them just seemed to stop. This is what it looks like now:

It's evidently not dead, but for some reason it seems to have given up. I wonder if maybe slugs have attacked it below soil level. I'm not going to verify that theory, because the disturbance would probably be too much for a weak plant like this. Instead I'll just leave it alone and see if it recovers. Actually, taking a positive outlook, it would be quite nice if it did recover but mature later than the others, thereby extending my harvest period even further. Pink Fir Apple is a maincrop potato, and I would not expect them to be ready until September anyway.

One final little anecdote: a couple of days ago I was lifting out the hessian bags in which I store potatoes after harvest, and I discovered one tiny PFA tuber from last year's crop still inside. It had produced a "chit" (shoot) which had grown through the hessian towards the light. Did I throw it away? No, of course not! I planted it. I reckon that if it has the tenacity to cling on to life for nearly a year in such adverse circumstances it is worth letting it have a go at producing some "babies" of its own.

Just so we know what we're aiming for, this is what PFA looks like when the tubers are mature:

"Pink Fir Apple" - photo from 2011


  1. I thought you'd harvested those PFAs when I saw the last photo. It's the first time I'm growing them so I'm really looking forward to trying them. I've had slugs eating my potato foliage this year, the first time I've noticed this, in fact, I've seen slugs clinging to the haulms, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's slugs which have been at the foliage. I hope the tubers are still growing so that you've got something to harvest.

  2. How very odd, snails seem to get mine not the slugs! I hope it does make a move & produce some potatoes for you!

  3. We have the first signs of blight on some of our potatoes, Hardly a surprise in these conditions nut sickening nonetheless.

  4. I hope that straggler picks up the pace for you. Though you never knew with plants. I've got a nice batch of corn growing but a few are just stunted. I wish I knew why they aren't all robust.


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