If you're looking for advice, or a tutorial, you'll be disappointed with this post! This year is the first time I have grown Maincrop potatoes, and the results have not been great...
Since it was my first experience with Maincrop potatoes and because I had no idea how things would perform in the new garden, I didn't want to go overboard and plant huge quantities of anything. This year was to be a trial run - and not just with potatoes either, but with all the other vegetables too. So in the Spring I planted 5 seed-tubers of each of four Maincrop potato varieties - "Desiree", "Setanta", "King Edward" and "Maris Piper".
The first problem I encountered was that a couple of the seed-tubers didn't grow at all, even though I had chitted them before planting, so my 20 plants became 18. This wasn't the biggest problem though. The biggest problem was the weather. From about the end of May until the end of July we had hardly any rain - just a few spots. The soil became completely dry and parched. There was only so much I could do to alleviate this. I would have had to have left the hosepipe running 24x7 for it to have kept the soil at a proper level of moisture! After a few weeks I realised I was fighting a losing battle and gave up watering the potatoes altogether. This is why I have been harvesting my Maincrop potatoes now, rather than in late August or even September, as would be more normal.
To be honest, I have been putting off this task for quite a while, in the vain hope that a change of weather might happen, giving the potato plants an opportunity for a final growth spurt. No such luck! We had some hours of decent rain last weekend, but it wasn't enough, and the potatoes had come to the end of the line anyway.
The job of harvesting was a brief one, perhaps 20 minutes all told. I didn't even have to dig, I just pulled off any remaining foliage and lifted the potatoes out of the sandy dust with my hands!
Well here are the stats: the overall total (from 16 plants remember, because two of the 18 were dug up prematurely by foxes the other day and didn't get weighed) was a mere 6.53 kgs. Yes, pathetic, I know!
This is "King Edward". Yield: 1.88kg - plus about 500 or 600g from the two dug up by the foxes.
This is Desiree. Yield: 1.69kg.
This is "Setanta". Yield: 1.59kg. Skins very rough, you'll note.
Finally, "Maris Piper". Yield: 1.33kg. A couple of very nice tubers, but not many of them. The two "No -show" seed-tubers were of this variety.