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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trial by Abuse

In 2005 I saved some true seed from some Nepalese blight resistant potatoes. I grew several hundred seedlings. Below are some of the tubers from that first year 2006.

Over the last four years I have grown them out every year, usually treating them really badly. For example, one year I didn't get around to lifting them till it was time to plant them again. Other years I have forgotten to weed them. A couple of years ago we taste tested them with the students from the Kinsale Permaculture course and narrowed them down a bit further. This year I left the tubers in a bucket until sometime in May when they looked like prunes with long green sprouts, then I planted them.
When I lifted them earlier this week there were three types left. The best yielder was the pink and white variety. I decided to call it Ardagh Susan after my sister who died earlier this year. The white variety was a very smooth skinned and scab resistant. It will be Ardagh Autumn after my elder daughter. The solid pink one had rather poor skin but was the 'flouriest' I have decided to call it Ardagh Holly after my younger one.
I have put away plenty of seed potatoes in the beautiful apple storage box that Mike made. he copied the old one that Sylvia gave us, and Bridget and Noel kindly brought back from England for us. It is full of apples now.


  1. I hadn't realised potatoes would be so resiliant (although I shouldn't be surprised given the places we've often found them growing!)

  2. So they're blight resistant - excellent - I'm guessing you already have Blue13 and Pink6 blight strains in Ireland. This tends to suggest that some kind of citizen breeding project could yield locally adapted varieties. What was the name of the original variety/ies? If these show a good level of blight resistance it 's probably worth continuing to breed from them.

  3. I still read you blog (using an RSS feed), so I thought I'd comment. How are Autumn and Holly nowadays?
    Are you still fiddling? I'm still fluting, and it's still getting better - that's one benefit of having so far to go, I suppose.
    We are starting a vegetable garden - an "orto" as they call it here. It's half-way through being dug over for the first time.
    And the weather? Dare I ask? Coldish but still often sunny here.

  4. The girls are fine, Autumn is in Austrailia. She is 23 today. Holly is in Waterford studying sports injuries, she will be 21 next week. I still play a bit, took up accordion as well. We have had the best summer weather-wise since I can remember. However it is raining now and a bit miserable.
    good luck with the orto and love to Sarah.

  5. I absolutely love your potato and apple storage rack. By chance have you ever posted how to make one? Thnx!

  6. The design looks pretty simple. The trays are just box frames with slatted bottoms, probably 1x1.

    If you removed all of the drawer/trays, you'd be left with a frame that has horizontal rails on the vertical supports. The trays just slide in and "ride" on the rails to fill up the frame...

    Very nice.

  7. Got your link on pinterest. The storage rack caught my attention. I like the storage type. Will like to make something similar for myself. Thank you for sharing.

  8. I love your storage unit!!
    Growing potatoes for the first time and was looking for ways to store them This beautiful design is definitely on my dream list

    1. We are growing potatoes for the 1st time this year too, and need a good place to store those along with carrots and onions. Nice work on the storage unit! I'd like to try this on a smaller scale.

  9. Has anyone here ever tried growing Russian fingerling potatoes? Any success if so?