Monday, 11 September 2017

2017 Potato Trial Results

I often think the meteorological change on 01 September from summer to autumn is a little bit premature, after all proper summer carries on until the 21 September doesn't it? Well not this year the start of September has seen the start of autumn with some cool, cloudy and wet days. We're still awaiting a rain free day this September.
Temperature & Rainfall 01-11 September 2017
If you follower either my blog or Sue's blog you will be aware that over the last few years we've carried out a rather unscientific trial of a few potato varieties that we either haven't grown before or haven't grown for a few years. Any really good crops are added to our main list of potatoes for the following year. We've done this since we found out that a local garden centre, The Horticentre, holds a potato day at the end of January with around 50 varieties to choose from. If you wish it's possible to buy individual tubers of any of the varieties. We settled for four tubers of each of the six varieties we wished to trial.
The tubers spent the first few weeks until planting time in the summerhouse. In there they had plenty of light and we hoped a frost free environment. Planting time was early April.
Planting Plan for Trial Potato Bed
I didn't think the potatoes had a particularly good growing season. The young shoots were badly damaged by frost in early May and their main growing season was on the dry side. We resisted the temptation to water any of them.
May's Frost Damage to Variety Cara
The potatoes recovered well from the frost damage and by June they were growing away very well indeed, despite the dry weather.
Varieties Osprey and Isle of Jura in the Foreground
By the time it got around to late August the tops of most varieties had died back naturally, although Cara and Saxon still had plenty of green haulms. 
I decided to lift the crop in any case. Each variety was lifted and weighed including any potatoes eaten by slugs or suffering from wire worm damage. They were left to dry on the grass for the afternoon before being boxed up to be transported home. 
At home the damage could be properly assessed as it's no good trying to store damaged potatoes over winter. The damage was noted and is shown in the table below.
Results of Potato Trial 2017
Of the six varieties Cara performed the best followed by Rooster and Osprey. I'd definitely consider growing any of these three as one of our main potato varieties for another year.  The difficult question is which of our current varieties would they replace. One will be a replacement for Winston which, although it produced a heavy crop this year, the potatoes were very badly damaged by slugs.

Of the other varieties Innovator produced some good sized spuds but it didn't match up to the top three. Isle of Jura and Saxon produced small crops which the slugs appeared to appreciate. Hardly any of their tubers were left undamaged and they weren't considered fit for winter storage.

I've also put together a video of this year's potato trial which is included below.


  1. I think I said my money was on Rooster. It is certainly the maincrop I am growing this year. 1/3 of the crop lifted and I wish I had started lifting it earlier as there is more slug damage than expected. Great video!

    1. I'm really starting to think that some varieties might act as sacrificial potatoes when planted close together.

  2. That's very good analysis on type of potatoes suitable for planting! Hope you have bumper harvest of potatoes next season! ;)

    1. If we do as well next year I will be very happy. It's going to be difficult deciding which ones to grow out of all the varieties available.


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