Roger from Trefhedyn speaks about their forthcoming Seed Potato Festival: Did you realise that during the 1980’s and 1990’s we lost a generation of vegetable growers.
Growing veg slowly disappeared and everybody turned to flowers.
However the crash and subsequent recession of 2008 changed everything and hallelujah we were suddenly propelled into the world of veg gardening a whole new generation decided to get out their tools and dig for food. Fantastic news because people came in for advice and that makes our job so more interesting lots of questions and talking people through what to grow and how to grow it.
The main reason for people to start growing their own was to save money. Well that’s a big no no. You will never save money but what you will achieve is flavour, quality, and you know where and how your food is growing.
This led us to start obtaining more and more varieties of veg and herbs and also to expand our seed potato range.
We have sold probably about a dozen varieties over the years you all know King Edward and Desiree but due to the expanding grow your own market Scottish seed growers started to bring back some of the most flaversoume old varieties and with this in mind we started the Trefhedyn seed potato festival.
Here we bring together nearly 100 varieties of seed potato to give every gardener the chance to experiment because even the humble potato has a wide variety of flavours.
We try to help as much as possible during our weekend of potatoes, so not only do we advise how to grow but every year we find new recipe’s such as chocolate potato cake which I can assure you is very nice.
Now we all have our favourites and here is a few of ours:
- Epicure 1st early, melts in the mouth early summer potato
- Juliette 2nd early, even better than Charlotte
- Blue Belle Main Crop, the best baking potato in the world
And finally a super modern variety which is probably a bit late arriving. We now have potatoes that are blight resistant which go under the sarpo brand name and my favourite is sarpo Mira which makes the most fantastic perfect chips but it would seem Nobody makes chips anymore whatever happened to all those deep fat fryers.
However to learn more about growing potatoes and many many more vegetables do come Along to our seed potato festival February 6th and 7th and have a good old chat with us all.
The Potato is the main source of nutrients for a balanced diet. Potatoes have everything you need – they are full of vitamins and nutrients, and best of all they are low in calories, contain no cholesterol and are naturally fat-free!Fabulous! You couldn’t ask for more! And the best thing is, they’re easy to grow – trust me, I grew several varieties last year and I struggle to remember to feed my houseplant!
The first thing to do is to decide on which variety you want to grow – First Earlies, Second Earlies or Maincrops. Harvesting your potato crop depends on when the seed was planted, the weather and on the variety of seed potatoes.
First Earlies: harvest in 65-100 days, normally June/July. When the first flowers appear on the foliage this is a sign that there are edible tubers beneath which are ready to be harvested.
Second Earlies/Salad Potatoes: harvest in 100-130 days, normally July/August.
Maincrop: harvest in 125-180 days, normally September onwards. Allow the foliage to die back, allowing the skin to set, and then harvest. These can be stored if lifted in dry conditions. Store in hessian sacks in a cool, dark, frost-free area.
Blight is a disease that affects crops in mild, moist weather conditions during the mid-summer to autumn period. Luckily, potato blight occurs too late in the season to affect your crop of first early seed potatoes, however special care and attention must be taken when growing second early or maincrop varieties.
How to spot Blight
Small, dark patches will first appear on the leaves, these patches may then spread to the stem of the plant thus infecting the tubers. The infected tubers will then start to rot. Unfortunately infected tubers cannot be saved, but all is not lost! You can save the remainder of your crop by spraying all plants with a solution of either Copper Mixture or Fruit & Vegetable Disease Control (formerly known as Dithane).
Not enough space in the garden? Then how about Grow-in-a-Bag!
Growing seed potatoes in containers such as tubs, barrels and potato bags is becoming more and more popular. Not only is it popular, its easy too! We should know, all the girls at Trefhedyn grew seed potatoes in ‘Spud Bags last year and produced a variety of scrumptious Spuds.
First step, place a layer of compost (6inches deep), we recommend ’Arthur Bowers Potato Compost’, at the bottom of the bag then place 5-6 chitted seed potatoes in the soil (2inches deep). Then wait for the magic to begin! In about 7-10 days (longer if the seed potatoes have not been chitted) small shoots will start to appear, wait for these to reach 6 inches tall then cover the base of the plants with a layer of compost, leaving the tips showing. Repeat this process every 4 inches until the shoots reach the top of the bag. Be sure to keep the soil well watered at every level. Every layer should be kept moist, do not leave to dry out. Once the shoots reach the top of the bag leave the shoots to produce a wonderful mass of foliage, not forgetting to water and feed regularly. We recommend feeding with Doff Liquid Growmore.
The first earlies will be ready to harvest in June/July when flowers appear on the plants. The second earlies will be ready in July/August. Maincrops will be ready in August/September/October, wait for the foliage to die back(this allows the skin to set) and then harvest.
My trick was to tip out the contents of the bag and have fun rummaging through the soil counting how many wonderful potatoes I could find. Enjoy!
Below is a list of all the varieties we currently have in-stock, all varieties are sold at £1.99 per kilo, 3 kgs for £5.00. Bulk quantities are also available, 25kg for £22.
|First Earlies||Second Earlies||Maincrop|
|Accent||Apache||Belle de Fontenay|
|Arran Pilot||British Queen||Cara|
|Home Guard||Estima||Maris Piper|
|Lady Christl||Marfona||Blue Danube|
|Maris Bard||Maris Peer||Pentland Crown|
|Pentland Javelin||Nadine||Pentland Squire|
|Red Duke of York||Ratte||Sarpo Mira|
|Sharpes Express||Shetland Black||Pink Fir Apple|
|Isle of Jura|
|Highland Burgundy Red|
For more information about Trefhedyn visit: www.trefhedyn.co.uk