Pick of the potatoes
Words: Colin Randel
I have been growing potatoes for over 45 years, initially helping dad plant 'Home Guard' and 'King Edward' in my gran’s garden. This sparked my interest in gardening, and I've been working in the horticultural industry ever since leaving school.
My 40 years in the industry has encompassed all vegetable and herb subjects, but over the past 11 years potatoes have become a real passion. I'm lucky to work at Thompson & Morgan where part of my job involves trialling and assessing innumerable varieties. I am affectionately called ‘spud’ – better than being called ‘turnip’ or ‘old bean’, I suppose.
Colin's favourite potatoes
Home Guard ( 1942) - first early
Still as tasty as when I was a boy and remains a firm favourite with gardeners today.
Red Duke of York (1942) - first early or maincrop
This is such a versatile spud. Planted successionally from mid-March to mid-May, to harvest as a delicious pale-yellow fleshed first early boiler, a second early summer baker, or a multipurpose early maincrop. A lovely taste at whatever size and maturity.
Anya (1995) - second early
A 'Pink Fir Apple' and 'Desiree' cross. This is a salad variety with a nutty taste, delicious hot or cold. Ideal for growing in containers, producing lots of small tubers.
Pink Fir Apple (1850) - maincrop
About the latest maturing salad variety, taking 22 weeks for perfection, but well worth the wait. Very knobbly tubers, just wash and cook whole. Superb either hot or cold.
King Edward (1902) - early maincrop
I have fond memories of this variety, a favourite with gardeners for roasting especially, but versatile for other dishes.
Sarpo Mira (2003) - maincrop
This potato has exceptional blight resistance. Cutting off the haulms (above ground leaves and stalks) while still green in early September and allowing the tubers to fully ‘set skin’ for at least three weeks before lifting, gives tasty, quite floury tubers for jackets, roasts and chips.