Potato day at Garden Organic

potatoesWhen you wander around your local store, how many varieties of potato do you notice?

In some supermarkets you might be able to choose from half a dozen, but in many stores you’ll simply have ‘reds’ or ‘whites’.

Did you know there are, in fact, over 200 different potatoes listed on the British Potato Variety database? With every person in the UK eating an average of 500 potatoes per year, don’t you think you deserve more than just ‘reds’ or ‘whites’!?
Every year at Ryton Gardens near Coventry, Garden Organic hold their Potato Day with the aim of getting more of us to grow potatoes. This year the event is on Saturday 29 for members and Sunday 30 January 2011 for the public.

On sale will be 130 different types of seed potatoes, including 40 organic varieties which you can view here.
Varieties include salad (Anya, Belle de Fontenay and International Kidney) to maincrop plus those bred for blight resistance (Sarpo Mira, Sarpo Axona and Markies) or slug resistance (Kestrel, Osprey and Blue Belle).

I don’t know about you but this time of year I’m itching to get into the garden. Chitting potatoes is a great job for January, ready for March planting. Even if you can’t get to the Potato Day event at Ryton, why not browse your local garden centre to see what they have on offer?

My personal favourite is Charlottes which are a beautiful waxy new potato. We’ve also grown rocket and vales Emerald which produce high yields and are easy for children to grow.

Potatoes are a brilliant crop for beginners and contrary to popular belief you don’t need a huge garden or a lot of space. Varieties such as Casablanca, Swift, Rocket, Dunluce and Winston are ideal for containers of any size. A 35 litre bucket is suitable for 3 or 4 tubers from which you’ll get around 30-40 potatoes!