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New Potatoes; a cautionary tale

By 22nd July 20153 Comments
Potato plants

Potato plants

I knew I shouldn’t have done it.  The thing is that I’d got away with it before so expected I’d get away with it again.  I didn’t though.  So take a tip from me and never, ever, plant potatoes you bought from the supermarket just because you couldn’t be bothered driving all the way to Bridgend Garden Centre near Freuchie where they sell a huge range of seed potatoes by the tuber.  But, as I’ve said, it worked last year.  One of the Charlottes (from Bridgend) didn’t ‘chit’ so I replaced it with a salad potato from the supermarket, and it produced a nice compact little plant with a surprisingly large yield.  So I thought I’d try them again this year. They all came up but, one by one, they’ve gone down with potato blackleg.  First three of salad potatoes and then one of the main-crops.  The rest look fine so far, so maybe they’ll survive.  We’ll see…



Anyway, I had to dig up the diseased plants, but still got a usable crop earlier than I might otherwise have expected.  You’re not really supposed to eat potatoes from infected plants but I seem to have survived.  And what’s nicer than new potatoes fresh from the garden?  Especially in potato salad.

Potato salad

Potato salad

As soon as I saw this recipe for Lightly Spiced Potato Salad in a Sainsbury’s magazine, I knew it was going to become my go-to potato salad recipe.  But, inevitably, I’ve messed about with the recipe.  Firstly, there’s a whole-spice mix you can get in Indian supermarkets called Panch Phoron which has the same spices as in this recipe, with the addition of fenugreek seeds.  Alternatively, to be truly low-carbon, you could just use home-grown onion seeds.  Also a purist would use her own eggs and rapeseed oil from Scotland to make her mayonnaise but I think life’s too short.  However, I do make the recipe easier by thinning the mayonnaise down with my own salad dressing (made from Scottish rapeseed oil and home-made tarragon vinegar).  Sometimes I replace some of the mayonnaise with yoghurt as I don’t like a too creamy dressing. Finally, this recipe just cries out for the addition of chopped coriander (also from the garden).  So this recipe is pretty low carbon since virtually everything comes from the garden, and you can protein it up by adding the first of your broad beans, or fresh uncooked peas.  Yumm…

Herby roast potatoes: At this time of year I have lots of herbs ready to pick and have just harvested the garlic, so this recipe makes the most of them.  It originally started off as a recipe involving roasting new potatoes with herbs and garlic, but in my hands they ended up covered in a light scum of burnt stuff, so I decided to add the herbs at the end instead.  Big improvement.

Chop washed and dried new potatoes into ‘sauté-size’ pieces (roughly 2 cm square).  Toss in oil (Scottish rapeseed of course), and a little sea-salt and ground black pepper. Roast at 200 oC or thereabouts for 20/30 minutes – they don’t take long.  Toss with freshly crushed garlic and chopped herbs – I use tarragon and chervil and chives but you could use anything you like really.  Lemon Thyme is nice. (As is a teaspoon of lightly fried Panch Phoron instead of the herbs.)  Eaten quickly while they’re still warm and crispy, these potatoes are good enough to eat on their own.  Which reminds me that, next year, I’m not getting my ‘seed’ potatoes from the supermarket.  I’m going back to Freuchie to get good old reliable Charlottes …



I've been gardening for over twenty years and am still learning. I also like to cook so my garden is expected to be productive as well as pretty. I live with a husband and a cat with an eating disorder.


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