Lewes Forum thread

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On 5 Feb 2017 at 11:58am Billy wrote:
For the Lewes gardeners out there, what is your favourite First Early Potato variety and why?
On 5 Feb 2017 at 12:46pm Feline wrote:
Arran Pilot because it is waxy, which I like, and has the best flavour of any early variety that I've ever grown, and I've grown quite a few!
On 5 Feb 2017 at 2:12pm Doug wrote:
Anything like Maris Bard, Maris Peer or Piper as on a chalky soil, they are pretty scab and blight resistant. Homeguard, although not a heavy cropper is the spud my grandad grew so It reminds me of the bloke who taught me all I knew. (I also grow Pink Fir Apple as a second early just for the flavour but it's a martyr to blight).
On 5 Feb 2017 at 2:24pm @Feline wrote:
Thanks for the tip on waxy potatoes, I'm no gardener but my grandad used to grow every veg and among them were waxy potatoes.Might try a few of those.
On 5 Feb 2017 at 2:35pm Feline wrote:
Aura is a fantastic waxy second early, but difficult to find. Juliette a great waxy early main and Pink Fir Apple a waxy late main. The supreme floury main for winter is red King Edward but I think Waitrose has cornered the whole of the UK market!
On 5 Feb 2017 at 2:51pm Feline wrote:
I should say the supreme roaster as red King Edwards don't mash, they disintegrate. There are many new potato varieties around but I must be getting old as I'm reluctant to risk growing them in case the flavour is a disappointment!
On 5 Feb 2017 at 3:55pm Billy wrote:
Fascinating stuff, I'm glad I asked. From my records (which go back to 1996) I have tried the following:
Vanessa (I think a first early) - White, Waxy but poor yield
Ulster Sceptre - White, Waxy and sweet (I gave this 5 stars)
Pentland Javelin - White, waxy and sweet but always grows too large
Maris Bard - Poor all round
International Kidney (Jersey Royal) - Poor (this is really a second early)
Because I like a waxy potato I now mainly grow Charlotte (a second early salad variety) and my favourite of favourites, Maris Peer, again a second early but big yield, very waxy and stays whole when boiled. Maris Peer also has an unusual scented lilac flower.
On 5 Feb 2017 at 4:03pm Billy wrote:
@Feline, what sort of soil do you have? I'm tempted by Arran Pilot but might not suit my heavy clay?
Maincrop, I've never had much luck with King Edwards so always grow Cara - which I find to be disease free and keep well.
On 5 Feb 2017 at 4:22pm Feline wrote:
I'm close to the river so have alluvial loam over chalk. I used to garden on heavy clay and found it good for spuds as long as you double trenched and put well rotted manure or compost in the bottom. Keeps you fit!
On 5 Feb 2017 at 6:37pm Feline wrote:
My most successful floury late main on clay was Arran Victory. Called after it's use during the war to keep people in spuds! Fantastic flavour and all rounder. Quite easy to get now as well.
On 5 Feb 2017 at 9:09pm bongo wrote:
Can I just add that Staverton Nursery @ Halland has a fabulous selection of spuds, they sell them loose so you can buy as little or as much as you want. Very reasonable, too.
I'm growing Ulster Sceptre in bags, and Cara or Marabel in the ground this year. Both are really good for roasting or baked jackets.
On 6 Feb 2017 at 9:19am Lovely! wrote:
May I just say I found this one of the most charming, educational threads I've ever read on this forum? Not a hint of vitriol or snarkiness. Just a group of people sharing like interests and advice. Like a forum... Thank you for making my day, gentle gardeners!
On 6 Feb 2017 at 3:23pm Billy wrote:
@Lovely! - I agree.
For the real potato nerds, there is an excellent variety database online, complete with description and photo of each type. Unable to load link but just Google AHDB, click on Potato tab and go to Toolbox for the database.

On 6 Feb 2017 at 3:26pm Feline wrote:
I have to own up to being a total potato nerd!
On 6 Feb 2017 at 5:01pm Billy wrote:
@Feline, here you go then.

On 6 Feb 2017 at 7:13pm Feline wrote:
Thank you Billy!
On 6 Feb 2017 at 7:51pm A Person wrote:
Not a gardener but a cook: King Edwards make the best mash by a country mile, but boil them in their skins and peel them before mashing with some butter and hot milk. Fabulous fluffy and very tasty mash!
On 6 Feb 2017 at 7:58pm Billy wrote:
@A Person, why do you boil them in their skins. Is it a taste thing? I always boil my first earlies and salad potatoes in their skins, but haven't tried it for maincrop. Presumably you have to cut the King Edwards in half / quarters to fit in the pan?

On 6 Feb 2017 at 8:45pm Meic wrote:
Bongo: do they have Salad Blue and Highland Burgundy? The potato stall at the farmers' market used to do them, but they haven't been for over a year.
On 6 Feb 2017 at 8:49pm Meic wrote:
Billy: even better, steam them or even microwave them in thier skins.So much of the good stuff in spuds (especially vitamin C and potassium) are water soluble and mostly get lost when spuds are cooked in water. You need to season them when you mash rather that salting the cooking water.
On 6 Feb 2017 at 9:32pm Feline wrote:
Salad Blue and Highland Burgundy are available. Google or try Carroll's potatoes who sell unusual varieties, including to the upmarket restaurant trade!
On 6 Feb 2017 at 9:49pm alice wrote:
I've had consistent success with pink fir apple over the years in Lewes: a quite lovely potato. Did particularly well last year.
On 6 Feb 2017 at 11:06pm Rotter wrote:
You've had your fun. Time for some trolling, surely?
On 7 Feb 2017 at 12:55am A Person wrote:
I boil them in their skins because - as someone else observed - King Edwards fall to pieces if you boil them peeled. If you peel them once they're cooked (and very hot - you'll need gloves) the flesh is dry because it hasn't soaked up the cooking liquid and they make lovely mash. The skin peels away very easily so it doesn't take long.
On 7 Feb 2017 at 8:27am Feline wrote:
That's very interesting A Person. Will try that later this week. I agree with alice that Pink Fir Apple does well in Lewes. I grow it every year and always get a good crop. I do sacrifice yield for flavour in my choice of some potato varieties as I'm only growing veg for two people.

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I recently ran into a bit of a dilemma at my shop and thought my experience might be helpful for anyone in a similar situation.... more
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