Spuds We Like (and others we’re not so sure about)

We grew a few different varieties of potato on the plot this year. Despite the wet weather, overall they did okay, although some were affected and we did have to harvest them a little early as they were starting to show signs of blight (the tomatoes later got wiped out).

The variety we liked most last year was Red Duke of York, with its superb flavour, so we grew it again. This year, it was the most disappointing variety, with the smallest yield, and the highest proportion that came out of the ground soft, rotten or otherwise unfit to eat. We did get some good potatoes, though, and they’re great fun to harvest, with their bright red skins gleaming in the dirt, so I think they’ll get another chance, if not next year then the year after.

A new variety this year was Kestrel. These look beautiful, with subtle but unmistakable blushes of colour on every tuber (seen more clearly when you’ve washed them).

The yield was pretty good, too. However, there was one serious problem: they seem very prone to splitting. Presumably this was down to the wet weather, but it’s enough to make me think twice about growing them again when there are so many alternatives to try.

The star performer, though, was Charlotte. We’ve grown these before, and they were good, and they seemed almost unaffected by the challenging weather. They’re one of my favourite varieties to eat, so discovering that they’re reliable too just cements their place in my plans.

Since we got our allotment, we’ve generally tried to grow small quantities of as many different varieties of as many different vegetables as possible. Having had such different results from potatoes grown in the same place and the same conditions makes me think that this is right approach, at least while we’re still inexperienced and working out what we’re doing.

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