If it works for you – don’t change it.

Buried treasure
Buried treasure

I am confused.  I don’t know if I am Arthur or Martha.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  This explains a lot but then also leaves me wondering.  I have made a bit of a mistake with my spuds.

For the last few years I have had a system that works really well for me.  Looking out over my garden from the shed end I plant my potatoes so the ones that come ready first are on the left.  Normally the Jersey Bennes that are due out after 100 days are planted with enough time to grace the Christmas table dressed in melted butter with a flourish of fresh mint.  What better way to commence the spud season and then as they are supposed to be small bite sized spuds that make wonderful salads on hot days, then we make our way through these tasty delights in time for the rest of the crop to come ready.

So these weren't the Christmas specials?
So these weren’t the Christmas specials?

The next couple to come ready are normally 120 – 130 day ones that give a good chip or roast and good boiling and mashing so I can mix it up as the summer slips into autumn and I begin to get over salad and start seeking comfort food.  And then finally the 140 day crop of good all round potato quality sees us into the depths of winter.

See how perfectly this all works?  Well it should…  until you throw me into the mix.  The one real fallible step in the process.  This season I don’t know what I was thinking.  I didn’t even write out labels!  You should always write out labels, things get forgotten.  Especially on a crop of over 100 days.  I knew in the back of my mind that I had blogged about the planting of the spuds and I even made a video for all the world to see.  You can see this >HERE<

A harvest to be proud of
A harvest to be proud of

So come Christmas I harvested the first row as normal and they were the size to be expected.  But they were a little floury and the skin fell off in the pot.  They tasted ok so I put it down to seasonal variation and continued to cook them as a waxy potato and we continued to eat them in a mashy style.

Then 20 days later, give or take I dug up the next row, assuming I had the timing right and got a bumper harvest.  They were huge although a couple of them were showing signs of resprouting.  This I chose to ignore and just rubbed the buds off. I got two large sacks full and thought I should label the bag so I know how to cook them.  This was a brainwave I had last season.  I label the bag not only with the variety but how best to cook it.  You can read about this >HERE<

Should I dig these up?
Should I dig these up?

With only a vague sense of which spuds were being stored in the shed I decided to double check my blog so I could make sure I was labelling correctly.  These should have been 120 day Ilam Hardy I thought.  But I’d just check.

Err wrong.  For a start Ilam Hardy take 130 days.  But that is the least of my problems.  To quote myself:   “I put them in, in alphabetical order in case I forget which is which.  So looking out over the garden I have Agria – 130 days, Ilam Hardy – 130 days, Jersey Benne – 100 days and Karaka 140 days.  (This is more for my benefit than yours!)”

So what are these?
So what are these?

Ok – Firstly looking out over the garden in which direction?  This also means that that Jersey Bennes weren’t on the left hand side like expected but are possibly still lurking in the middle of the bed.  No wonder the ‘Jersey Bennes’ we had for Christmas were floury.  Does this mean I harvested my Agria or Karaka too soon and will now have a limited supply for the winter?  Was it indeed the Ilam Hardy I harvested this week or was it the overdone Jersey Bennes?  Should I just dig up the last middle row anyway? And should I wait the full 140 days before digging up the last row?

I'm not the only one having potato problems
I’m not the only one having potato problem… they’ve been calling this one “spudmageddon”

I guess the biggest take away from this is LABEL EVERYTHING!  It won’t matter about the spuds all that much.  We will soon figure out our waxy from our floury and our chips from our mash, but may not know its name.  It will still be edible.

Come again soon – it is hot and dry and we are wishfully hoping for rain.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

20 thoughts on “If it works for you – don’t change it.

  1. I keep a garden book, with garden maps showing where everything is planted (and what!) Not only does it help to identify things, and also to help me plan crop rotation (since many years are all in the book.) Even then, there have been errors….

    1. Hi There. I normally keep all my notes on my Google calender and then that makes it searchable in years to come. But I think I may need a little notebook to have with me that doesn’t mind getting a little grubby, The strange thing is sometimes what you are doing makes perfect sense, until time passes and you have no idea what you were thinking! Thanks for the tip.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. Oh my! I showed your video to my husband and he was really amazed with the work you put in. He is still convinced we are cutting back 50% and putting the other half in flowers. I won’t argue, my children are to the point they won’t even take the canned goods there is too much. Enjoy those potatoes.

    1. Thanks Lucinda. I think at this point my garden is doing a great job feeding growing boys. Flowers are so pretty. I have a cutting gardening this year – except I can’t bring myself to cut them – they look so lovely in the garden. Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. I go alphabetical so I know which is which, but I rather think by harvest is wiser for below-ground surprises. And yes, I could stand to label more…and by more I mean I label the seed trays but usually lose track at the 4″ pot stage so the garden is willy nilly whatever variety it may be wherever it may go.

    1. HI Plumdirt. I normally photograph the seed tray labels as well so should anything happen I’d have a vague idea. At the next stage I used cut up plastic milk bottle labels and by the end of the season I seem to have millions of them! The upside is, what ever it is – it will still be what you wanted to grow because you sowed the seed!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. Plastic milk bottles! How clever! The year I keep track I was reusing fountain drink cups as the actual pots and writing directly on them, but we don’t drink fountain drinks so much anymore. And true! They’re tasty whatever their names are.

  4. My spuds were all grown from sprouted spuds in a big 10kg bag. NO idea when I am meant to harvest them and the other spuds grew from tops and eyes that had sprouted and I put them into the compost bin. You are MUCH better at this than I am and rain? I thought you were complaining about the rain not too long ago? ;). Seriously though, I think we have your summer and you have ours. It’s very mild here, we have had more rain this summer than we have all winter and its now february, the hottest month and it’s overcast and in the low 20C’s and everyone here in Australia is confused. We are glad to have it if you really don’t want it 😉

    1. HI Fran. It is raining now. For the last couple of days we have a soft gentle rain that seems to be soaking in to the parched soil. It makes it hard to garden, but it saves on the tap. The boffins have declared tomorrow to be rainy again but 27C so we can only imagine how sticky that will be. This has been a great summer for us. A long hot sunny holiday like we remember as kids – one that seemed to go on forever with hardly any rain. Kids go back to school tomorrow so of course the weather will pack up. I have seen snippets of the weird Aussie weather – it hardly seems like summer at all! Actually it indeed seems like you have ours… like the weather has done some kind of foreign exchange. It has been nice for a change! Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. I don’t mind keeping it actually if you would like to swap. We have only had a couple of days in the 30’s this year which is very strange and most pleasing. My tomatoes are all green and not a single one has turned red yet but we still have most of February (our hottest month) to go so I can only hope. Glad someone out there is jumping for joy. I follow a few N.Z. blogs and most of you guys are happy about the change in the weather. We Aussies were promised a “Long, Hot, dry summer”…I think those predictary boffins have egg on their faces 😉

  5. Oh you are gorgeous! I love it … I’ve done the alphabetical thing before and that failed miserably. Plus I have used signs on my garlic and the writing washed off. Love it. You know what I’m doing now, is leaving the spuds in the ground and digging them up as we need them. So far so good 🙂

    1. Hi Julie. Alphabetical works well on seed trays, when it doesn’t matter who their neighbours are. I think the problem is in spring there is so much to do and I need to hurry slowly – slow enough to do a proper label job.
      The thing is I thought I was being all smug – knowing my roasters from my mashers. Well not this season. A spud is a spud. Maybe I should just randomly dig them up as needed too.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  6. I have been there, done that! If I don’t label or record right away what I planted, I play the “What I the world did I plant here?” guessing game too. I need a garden secretary!

    1. Hi Sarah. A garden secretary – what a great idea. They can follow us around and also record our thoughts. Often by the time I get inside and clean off, the thoughts have gone. I’ve lost many a great idea that way.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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