Today I rekindled my love affair with the humble potato, one that started a long time ago when my heart was taken by a fiendish roast, but which has never flourished into the garden.
In truth, me and potatoes have never been apart, and I could often be found indulging in a creamy mash. Or chips. But rarely have I had the commitment to grow and stick to my own. Just the once before in fact and it didn't last, blight set in and I only got a small crop. I thought about growing them again but something to do with the temptation of other veg that freed up the bed quickly - beans, radish, you know the crunchy types - led me astray.
But now I've grown up, moved on. Now I have a proper kitchen...
And so potatoes, roast potatoes in particular, have taken hold. my Sundays are all about perfecting a roast chicken's best friend. I've tried all the tips - and I don't buy the goose fat myth - a good par boil, steam dry and roughing in the pan, high heat and oil, mmmm, the perfect roast...sorry, day dreaming.
Four weeks ago I took the plunge and bought my seed potatoes, ready to 'chit'.
A strange word, chitting. Reading gardening books it implies a technique, a deliberate careful method to get the best potatoes. To me a chitted potato is no different to that neglected spud at the bottom of the vegetable rack. But still, I took the care to find suitable egg boxes to house them and checked their progress every day.
I've learnt a lot in four weeks, based on the advice of others. 'Don't put them by the window, they need to be in the dark'. 'Don't put them in the dark there, they make the kitchen look untidy'...
Feeling unwanted, the poor things took a while to show any enthusiasm to wake up, but I stuck with them and finally in the last 10 days the shoots showed real promise.
Last week I prepared their space in the raised bed, today I increased the depth with more top soil, and planted out a row of 6.
My only worry is that they're a bit shallow. In the raised bed I mean. Despite the extra soil, the bottom of the bed is probably only 5cm deep. I fear they'll realise that for all my commitment, they may not hang around!