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Monday, 28 January 2013

Seed potato geek

I've been to Dundry Nurseries before - especially each January because of their seed potatoes. This year, they'd expanded the seed potato department to cover about a third of their large shed near the Airport. Their web site claims 162 varieties which makes Heinz a poor second at 57.

All these varieties are set out in sections for first earlies, second earlies and maincrops with growing and tasting notes. There's a handy chart showing which varieties have some resistance to Phytophthora infestans (known to its many enemies as Potato Blight - the one that caused the Great Famine in Ireland)

They've got a flexible attitude on quantity, Here we have racks of very plain 3Kg bags but they offer to supply any quantity including single tubers for 20p. For these smaller quantities there's a pile of  brown paper bags and a biro. (so you can write the variety name on the bag)

Perhaps the most pretentious aspect of the place is that they seem to have put the growing notes through a laminator. It's a real garden centre, not a shopping destination. (Well, yeah, there is a small rack of greetings cards and few "gifts" but you could easily miss them)
 So what did I buy?
  • Ratte: A bit like the better known Pink Fir Apple. An ancient long variety with fine flavour. Even harder to find in food shops than Pink Fir Apple
  • International Kidney: A variety that when grown on Jersey can legally be called Jersey Royal. A "first early"
  • Duke of York: Fast, well flavoured new potato
 And all for 60p!

What interesting varieties did I decide I didn't have space for this year?
  • Edzel Blue
  • Shetland Black
  • Mayan Twilight or the other "Mayan" brothers.(Bred from  Solanum  phureja instead of the more usual Solanum tuberosum)

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