Garlic, potatoes and shallots…

I spent some of my winter ‘hibernation’ as always dreaming of the garden and planning what I’d like to grow.  As this is my 4th year with this vegetable patch, I mostly just check last years planing list (organised by month) and edit or add according to how the recent harvest has gone.  I don’t like to plant things we don’t end up eating or that have failed in such a way I feel no desire to try again (although some things I’ll attempt more than once, I’m determined to grow Kai Lan this year!) and ideally I like to add new varieties, if not new vegetables, otherwise I get a bit bored.

I’ve ordered the first installment of  seeds, potatoes and shallot sets, all from Thompson & Morgan.  They had an offer I couldn’t refuse on potatoes, 3 new planters plus 15 (5 of each) seed potatoes all second earlies and including my favourite Charlottes.  In their own words, here’s what I’m getting:

Gourmet Potato Collection

Solanum tuberosum

Colin Randel, Chairman of the RHS Vegetable Trials Committee has tried and tested hundreds of potatoes over the years. With his specialist knowledge he has picked three tasty potato varieties as his top rated for flavour. Grow this special selection in our effortless patio planters for a taste sensation. The perfect potato dish simply doesn’t get any easier than this!

  • Collection comprises:
  • Potato ‘Charlotte’ – Second early. Sweet, earthy, long oval tubers with pale yellow, waxy flesh. This superb salad variety produces heavy crops with plenty flavour whether it is eaten as a new potato, hot or cold.
  • Potato ‘Inca Bella’ – Second early/ early maincrop. From ‘Mayan Gold’ parentage, with a pink-blushed cream coloured skin and golden coloured flesh. The distinctive nutty flavour makes this variety a superb salad potato, or harvest later as an early maincrop if larger tubers are required. Cooks approximately 30% quicker than your usual potato.

  • Potato ‘Piccolo Star’ – Second early. Very high numbers of mouthwatering, oval baby new potatoes, with a firm waxy texture and bright, creamy skin and flesh. Absolutely superb as a boiled ‘new potato’ or left to cool as a salad potato.

Sounds good huh?! Here is the link and all for the price of £14.99.  Now, if I was prepared to give up some of the raised bed space I could buy much cheaper and larger amounts of seed potatoes but I really enjoy growing them in sacks/planters, so this works for me.  In addition I have ordered some Anya variety and a number of individual (cheap) bag planters that will have 1 tuber planted in each.  Last year I put any extra chitted potatoes into black buckets and it worked so well to tip out a single  bucket full for a meal that I’d like to repeat this method.

I’ve also ordered my shallots, again I’ve gone for Longor, I did think about changing variety but I do love these and haven’t bought shallots for 3 years now so figured I’d stick with the same.  Again (this is kind of cheating isn’t it? – Oh well!) in their own words:

Shallot French ‘Longor’

Allium cepa (Aggregatum Group)

This French version of ‘Jersey Long’ has been awarded an RHS Award of garden merit for its extremely long bulbs and robust flavour. Shallots have a much sweeter flavour than onions and can be used in stews and casseroles for a more delicate taste. This variety is a particular favourite with exhibition growers, and can be stored over a long period.

I found one milder day over Christmas to get my garlic in, I just looked back at old posts and see this was my first post on garlic from June 2009 when I harvested the first batch, outlining what I’d opted to grow.  Gosh didn’t I include some nice photos back then?….must try harder ;).  Then after declaring Albigensian Wight and Solent Wight as the winners, these were my choice for last year’s planting, they worked so well I’ve been rather boring and opted for the same again, ordered from the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm.

They have been planted, as always, in rows 30cm apart with 15cm between the individual cloves with about 3cm earth on top.  They are in raised Bed 1 and will be replaced with Brassicas (probably purple sprouting broccoli) later in the year, the smaller inner cloves have been put into 2 of my massive containers, I am thinking of planting the squash in the beds this year and using the containers for other things, either way I can move them when the weather warms up a bit.

Now, if you’re thinking all these photos are familiar, yes they are, I had planned to pop out in the garden before publishing this post (written a few days ago), but quite frankly it’s pissing it down and shows no sign of letting up so I was looking up past relevant images, I do love this one of the garlic drying out on our spare bed.

And finally,  it cheered me to find this photo, taken in April 2009 and a reminder of what’s to come 🙂


9 thoughts on “Garlic, potatoes and shallots…

  1. what a gorgeous blog , will be sure to book mark this… we are just starting to think veg garden planning and hope to dig a bit more of the lawn up … hoping the girls won’t notice. i love to grow herbs & veg & my OH got the bug too a few years ago and he is garlic king… ours Solent white are in the ground now. Love the pic of yours drying out.
    ginny x

    • The whole veg garden thing is so addictive, I grow at least half of ours in containers, sadly on my own as my OH isn’t really into the growing bit (just the eating ;)) but the boys get quite involved. I’m with you (and your OH), Solent Wight is the business, by far my favourite garlic to grow. Glad you like the blog, this post was a bit wordy but I’m lacking photos in this weather 🙂 Bethx

    • Solent Wight is great, I grow Albigensian because the blurb says ‘The garlic of the 13th century, heretical Cathars, known to Da Vinci Code and Holy Grail followers’ which I really like the idea of, oh and it did well the first year when I tried lots of varieties 🙂

  2. Ooooh that potato set looks fabulous, I may just have to get one for myself!
    This will be just my second year of gardening, last year I just had a very small roof terrace, but none the less was much more successful than I imagined, this year I have a new bigger garden, all be it entirely decked (there will be a lot of pots and maybe some raised beds). I’ve been dreaming of all I’m going to grow all winter!
    It’s so nice to have some mild weather in which to finally get out there and do some work!

    • I love growing in tubs, I’m amazed I never realised how much you can grow that way, even in a small space. We’re super lucky having such a big garden here (I’d take more for my veggies but my other half wont allow it). I’m with you, the dreaming of what to plant helps pass those Winter months. Roll on Spring!

  3. Pingback: Planting out potatoes… « Rock Cottage Year

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