Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Oh là là!


Basking in the afternoon sun are my recently arrived seed potatoes. They arrived in the post just before the weekend, but a combination of no empty egg boxes and going away for a couple of days prevented me from starting them on their growing journey until today. I'm quite not sure how I forgot to save empty egg boxes but I did however good old Wilkos saved the day. They stock a range of poultry keeping equipment in some of their stores including some relatively cheap egg boxes. So my potatoes are now all sitting comfortably in their temporary residence (unheated spare bedroom) until time comes to plant them at the allotment. This year I've gone for a collection of French potatoes from Otter Farm for starters. They include 5 varieties as follows :

"Belle De Fontenay - a second early salad potato producing kidney shaped, quite small, waxy potatoes that are hard to beat for salads. It improves with storage.

Bleu D'Auvergne -  hard to get hold of, this maincrop potato has a very fine-grained waxy flesh, excellent for purées and soups. It is white-fleshed with a beautiful blueish purple skin. A French heirloom variety.

Cherie - a first early oval salad potato with a very pretty, deep rose-pink skin with pale yellow flesh. Very heavy crops too, and a wonderful flavour. Great boiled, steamed or sauteed.

Ratte - an early maincrop with waxy yellow flesh - very nutty flavour and perfect as a salad potato but also very good mashed. Similar to Pink Fir Apple, but less knobbly.

Roseval - a fabulous second early variety this is fairly rare in the UK but very popular in France. Tubers are smooth, deep red skin and yellow flesh, occasionally with pink flesh. The flesh is waxy with a truly superb buttery flavour. Excellent for salads, hot or cold. Outstanding flavour."

There is more information here about all these varieties including illustrations here on a most informative pdf that I've just come across and now wish that I had seen earlier. NB For information about 'Ratte' see 'La Ratte'.

I thought that it would be fun to go for a number of different potatoes this year rather than just a couple. I have grown 'Belle de Fontenay' and 'Ratte' before but the other varieties will be a new taste sensation. Although I got mine as a collection all the varieties are available on their own from internet sources, whilst some of them can be bought from your local garden centre. I was also looking out for a couple of other varieties locally last week, but was dismayed to see long spindly shoots already protruding from the ones I fancied. Do you have a favourite spud? The search continues for an outlet that stores its seed potatoes at a reasonable temperature. Two thoughts have dawned on me whilst writing this post. The first is that I must make it a priority to get to my allotment plot this week waders and snorkel at the ready. The second is that it looks as if we will be eating lot of salads this summer so what else am I going to grow to go with them?

10 comments:

  1. They sound like a great collection. I've heard of Ratte before and remember thinking that I'd like to try them, I'll have to make a note for next year.

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  2. Lots of potential there and looks like they are set to be c'est si bon! :)

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  3. I've tried Ratte, Cherie and Belle de Fontenay; they are all excellent. Another French one I am fond of is Amandine. Blue d' Auvergne sounds like a cheese. I will be interested to hear what it is like.I've never heard of Roseval, it sounds great.
    Have you tried growing Mizuna for your salads? I love it.

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  4. Bonjour ma chère, I'm delighted to see your selection of French beauties. Must have a look if I can get hold of Bleu d'Auvergne, the others are widely available. You must have a large allotment.

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  5. What an intriguing collection of pommes de terre - even the cheesey one!

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  6. What a great selection of potatoes Anna - I also have a selection of varieties chatting in egg boxes in the utility room. They are all early or salad varieties and I am hoping the ground will be dry enough to get them planted later in March. A few eggs and your lovely potatoes will make great additions to your summer salads!

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  7. A good selection. I find potatoes take up too much space so I don't grow them, I don't use that many anyway so it in't a problem.

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  8. I didn't do spuds last year and hadn't planned on any this time either but they all sound so good. Blight is such a problem here. I tend to only grow first or second earlies. Charlotte are one of my faves. Oh I'm tempted to grow some now. Must resist though I was looking at a pile of seeds which came through the post yesterday wondering where on earth they're all going to go. :0

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  9. I'm growing Belle de Fontenay for the first time this year and looking forward to them enormously. We put all our egg boxes on the compost heap so I'm chitting them in seed trays.

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  10. Hah! I got seduced by French tatties from Otter Farm too, just when I had definitely decided I wasn't going to grow any too... I did restrain myself to just a few tubers of Cherie though. Now chitting away and waiting to be planted out. Yummy... Shall look forward to hearing what your French crop is like!

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any
specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.