Tatty Divine

I have a gardening pal in the village who likes to show off his immaculately tended plot, which is optimised for the dual purposes of keeping himself in vegetables for most of the year, and sweeping as much of the board of the village show as he can, given the stiff competition. In turn, he likes to come up and visit my plot which, if it’s optimised for anything, is optimised for providing tales of mild vegetable-related peril for the blog and harbouring wildlife, some of which is beneficial and most of which is slugs. So, we have a mutually beneficial relationship: he gets to feel good about his gardening skills, and I get to pick up ideas from him (not the obvious ones, like ‘don’t let your weeds get so out of hand you have to attack them with shears’, just the ones which aren’t a lot of actual work, obviously).

potato plants in greenhouse

Potato plants taking over the back of the greenhouse

Anyway, I noticed he was growing potatoes in his greenhouse for an early crop, so I decided to give it a whirl, having a greenhouse to fill, and stuck a few extra early seed potatoes in this spring. And it worked amazingly. Not only did the potato plants grow to the size of junior triffids, but they produced a pretty good haul – this is just from one plant and it hadn’t even started to die back.


And then the other half cooked them for supper last night and they tasted fantastic (I mean, I know that by law all home-grown vegetables have to taste delicious but these tasted really delicious) but not only that, we boiled them and they didn’t explode.

It could be the variety*, I suppose, although I’ve grown every sort of potato there is (and there are a lot) and every single one of them has exploded when we attempted to boil them. It could be digging them up earlier than usual (Bob Flowerdew was muttering something along those lines on Gardeners’ Question Time a few weeks back). The RHS was no help, as it claims exploding potatoes may be down to ‘hot dry conditions’, which is clearly not an issue up here. I may have to chalk it up to one of those things, or possibly just the magic of copying someone who knows what they are doing. And I’m definitely putting a couple more seed potatoes in the greenhouse again next year.

* Which is, err, look, I wrote it down somewhere, and I could work it out if I had to, it was one of the really early ones, I know that, it’s on the tip of my tongue, it will come to me in a minute … anyway, delicious whatever it is.**

** I’ve now got very good at randomly giving things variety names when real gardeners ask. Sometimes I even remember right. If all else fails, you usually get away with ‘Onward’.


7 Responses to Tatty Divine

  1. Flighty says:

    It would be nice to know what variety they are. I’ve never had any problem cooking first earlies, just bring to the boil then gently simmer for a few minutes. xx

  2. International Kidney which are the variety grown on Jersey and sold as Jersey new potatoes are a good early and if you mulch/top dress them with lots of seaweed you should get that old fashioned Jersey new potato flavour which has now been lost (sadly) as commercial growers on Jersey (with a few small grower exceptions) do not use it any more. As I am 90 miles from the nearest shore I do not have access to sacks full of seaweed when I need it!

  3. disgruntled says:

    @Flighty – lucky you, no matter what technique we use we’ve never had any luck with boiling our potatoes
    @Michael – I did think of International Kidney but they were out when I went to Potato day. Didn’t know about the seaweed though

    • They are stocked pretty widely these days, including at B&Q, I seem to remember I found them at a Garden Centre close to Dumfries a couple of years ago, that had a very good selection of tubers. Sue & Rob may recall where it was.

    • Couple of interesting (?) seaweed links here http://www.realmensow.co.uk/?p=1357 and a discovery that there is an International Seaweed Association that holds an International Seaweed Symposium every three years – the next is in Copenhagen in June 2016. I might just clear my diary for that.

  4. Jonathon says:

    I’ve always cut my potatoes into roughly uniform chunks before boiling. Is there some reason you prefer boiling them whole or is this a subtle joke? (I’m American)

  5. disgruntled says:

    It’s not having them in chunks I object to (we cut ours up too) – it’s having them disintegrate into mush as they cook that counts as exploding

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