Sunday, 20 June 2010

Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes!

By my own admission, I am a vegetable gardener with Jekyll and Hyde tendencies! That is to say, that whilst this weekend has been full of gloom, doom and disheartenment (see previous post!), this post is all about positive potato progress!

The potato plants were one of the first vegetables I planted back in April and so far, seem to be the only plant that's thriving – probably due to the fact that they are underground and out of the way of hungry pests! Anyway, various books, not to mention different allotment gardeners, have said that some very early potatoes may be ready when the plants have flowered.

Well, a few of mine had indeed flowered, so I set to digging around in the soil. This is what I started to unearth:

At last – some form of success dear readers! This was exactly the reward I needed after such a disheartening weekend and provided a much-needed smile!

Now; I'd like some advice from readers of the London Vegetable Garden please! What is the correct way to dig up potatoes? I used a spade, but in doing so, sliced a couple of hidden potatoes as I dug down into the soil. Are these simply casualties of war, or is there a method to lift all potatoes harmlessly? Advice much appreciated!

I still have a few potato plants left growing (of the early varieties), so will leave these in the ground for a few more weeks to see if these encourage a higher yield of potatoes.

Anyway, I got these potatoes home and my girlfriend and I boiled them up as part of our tea and melted a little butter on top of them. Very simple, but incredibly tasty! They were extremely soft and fluffy and one really can taste the difference between potatoes that have been dug up a few hours previously to supermarket ones that have been chilled and frozen for days at a stretch.


  1. You could dig them up with your hands I guess. Back when I was growing potatoes my gardener said to wait until the flowers had died, and then dig them up. The soil was pretty loose so it was easy to just dig them up with our hands.

  2. I tried growing spuds in bags lasts year, and although the crop was small, there was a nice lucky-dip feeling to rooting around with your hands trying to find them. But on the tools side, my dad always used a fork when I was a kid. I guess it is because you turn the soil over but there is less edge to catch the potatoes with.

  3. Nice to see what others are doing on the other side of the ocean... Nice potatoes! You have a very nice site... good luck growing and keep writing!

  4. The trick is to dig about 25-30 cm to the side of the plant, put the spade or fork deeply into the soil and then lever it up. Then scrabble desperately with your fingers for potato gold...

    The professionals use all kind of weird and wonderful tractor attachments, and even a special machine that just lifts the whole band of soil that the potatoes are in, for it to be riddled and dropped; minus filtered potatoes.



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