Organic Potatoes From Lockdown

 In Gardening, pensioners

I needed some seed potatoes and could only buy 20 earlies, called Rocket, on the internet. The internet reviews were pretty bad; tasteless and bland was the summary. However, beggars cannot be choosers. When they arrived, many of the shoots were so long they had either rotted or broken off. Whatever, I saved a few of those in water because they had roots on them. I chitted the remaining potatoes and finally planted them out on the 21 April, which is late for potatoes. The shoots went in on their own and I doubted they would grow. As it was, 26 tops finally appeared and the organic potatoes from lockdown looked robust and well.

The wait

The wait for potatoes is a long one but shortest for earlies. The nursery reckoned on 70 days whereas the internet suggests 80 to 90 days. As it was, by 70 days the tops were well past flowering but there was touch of green in the tops. At 90 days, I started digging. Up came about 15 potatoes per plant, very pale and with skins that would easily brush-off in water. Some of my compost had been used in the planting so no chemicals or other nasties had been involved. After cooking, they were mashed. Then, the revelation. The mashed potato was stiff, really hard to beat air into. That is unlike any bought potato, which is usually full of water and almost sloppy. Rocket potatoes were both tasty and filling. I had forgotten how good homegrown really is.

Organic potatoes from lockdown

The moment I grow food I link back to Zuri, to our early Neolithic horticultural past. She knew that feeling of achievement, of labouring to produce your own food. Okay, I am aware that potatoes did not arrive here until 1584 but we grew other food before that. However, this was real food. The way in which commercial farming has destroyed horticulture and produced tasteless food that is low in nutrition, is a travesty. The fact that they also lavish chemicals in the production is just adding insult to injury. They destroy the soil using these growing methods. The homegrown Rocket potato shows that even poor varieties can whup much of what we buy from the commercial producers.

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