As well as planting potatoes directly into the soil, we grew some in potato bags that Andrew made. We wanted to compare the yields from direct- and bag-planted spuds.
Here’s how we got on:
The weight of potatoes from this bag was 1.15kg (2.5lbs) compared to the 1kg (2.2lbs) we got from our first potato we harvested a few days ago. Although this might seem like a similar yield, there were three seed potatoes planted in that bag so actually it is a bit disappointing.
We had thought that potato bags would give a better crop. Potato plants produce tubers on their stems – the more you earth up, the more tubers you’re likely to get. With a potato bag, all you have to do is keep topping up the soil. That should make it easier to produce a good crop.
So, why didn’t we get a better crop?
There could be a number of reasons.It might be that:
- Red Duke of York may give a better yield than Home Guard
- the potato bag may have been too small and the potatoes didn’t have enough room to develop
- the soil in the potato bag may have dried out more quickly than the soil in the ground
- the potatoes in the bag may have needed fertiliser which wasn’t provided.
As we harvest more Red Duke of York and Home Guard, we’ll be able to give a better comparison of the yield between the two varieties.
The potato bag that these Home Guard were grown in was 35cm in diameter by 35 cm tall. Andrew made two further potato bags based on measurements of commercially available bags. These subsequent bags are not much bigger (45cm diameter by 40cm high) but it may be that this little bit of extra room makes a difference.
We’ll give an update in the end of month tour of the plot in a week or so.
How did they compare taste-wise?
Where the Red Duke of York were nutty and had a slightly floury texture, Home Guard were creamier and waxier.
Andrew preferred the Red Duke of York, my favourite was the Home Guard. They were both delicious, and we agree that we would grow them both again. Having said that, we’re likely to try different varieties next year.
Meanwhile, the alpine strawberries seem to be enjoying their new home.