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?