Wednesday, 5 September 2012


My best crop this year is without doubt the potatoes I've grown in containers. I first grew this variety, Arran Pilot last year, and was impressed not only with the flavour and yield, but also the fact that the potatoes don't turn to mush when boiled. I decided to grow the same variety again this year, and can see that it will be one I grow most years as I think it would take some beating. I started out with fifteen containers and started emptying them on the third of June. I've given lots to my mum and dad as well as harvesting them regularly to eat ourselves, and there's still five containers left to empty. You can see all the compost used to fill a container in the photo. This doesn't go to waste after the potatoes are harvested as it's used to improve the soil at the allotment.

I'm still hoping that I might get a bean harvest this year from my late sowing. The runner beans have reached the top of their poles and the dwarf French beans have been left alone by the slugs, and both are flowering so there's hope.

We've got a sunny day here today, though it's a little breezy. The forecast is for the sun to stay around for a while so my tomatoes might decide to surprise me and turn red. I'm starting to wonder if I should take the plunge and remove the fruit from the plants to try and get them to ripen on the windowsill. I think I'll wait and see if the sunshine we're forecast does anything for them first.


  1. A great looking potato crop. I am planning on some for next year. Belated birthday wishes, blogger was playing up the other day when I tried to leave a comment.

  2. Well done they look and sound great. You've done better with the beans than I have. fingers crossed for the tomatoes. Flighty xx

  3. I'd hang on a little while longer for the tomatoes Jo.

  4. I too grew Arran Pilot along with Charlotte and Maris Piper, the Arrans were abundant and free of scab, can't say that about the MP though, they were a real disappointment (shot through with holes).Yuk. I put a bed of comfrey at the bottom of the Pilots but don't think this had owt to do with such a good crop of Arrans

  5. Our potatoes all got blight this year. Like you I am also hoping my tomatoes will go red. the allotment ones haven't done too badly but the ones at home are still green. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

    I have a freezer full of runner beans and I have given loads away too. They just keep on coming. I don't think I will plant quite as many next year.

    Hope you had a good birthday.

    x x

  6. Hi Jo
    I've removed most of the leaves from our tomatoes to let as much sun as possible get to the fruits. I don't want them to grow any more I'll settle for what we've got turning red. Just wondered if you'd done the same. Might be worth a try before resorting to removing the tomatoes.

  7. Tomatoes ripen through warmth, not light, so bringing them indoors is probably your best option. Even if the sun shines at this time of year, it is no longer very warm.

    I'm glad you got a good potato harvest. Perhaps it will compensate for the dearth of beetroot.

  8. I'm always surprised by how much I lvoe growing potatoes. Not only is the flavour much better but I find it inordinately exciting digging for them at harvest time.

  9. I only grow new potatoes and did Charlottes this year. They were ok but not as good as last year. They suffered from the rain. For salad spuds some were enormous and the yield was lower and they had scab. I'm debating whether to grow them at all next year they take up so much space.

    Have you tried putting some bananas in your greenhouse? Ripening bananas give of ethylene which encourages tomatoes to ripen. It works if you put them both in a drawer or cupboard. Maybe it would also work in a greenhouse?

  10. I often ripen up tomatoes indoors above the Aga or on the windowsill - but the weather forecast is good, and if they are in somewhere warm and sunny you could probably keep them outside for a little longer.

    Pomona x

  11. Te potatoes look great...I was never very successful with this variety...that's the thing with growing your own though..different soils and areas produce different tastes and yields.

    I am hoping that the promised sun will not only help with my tomatoes but my corn too...fingers crossed for a nice sunny September!!

  12. Thank you, Awholeplotoflove. I love the taste of freshly dug potatoes, it's like most things home grown, they always taste nicer than shop bought.

    I haven't harvested any beans yet, Flighty, they may come to nothing, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.

    I will hang on a while longer, Sue, especially while this sunshine's about.

    There's such a difference between different varieties of potatoes, Captain Shagrat. I think it's a case of finding out which do best in your soil and which taste you like the best and then sticking with them.

    Thanks, Please may I. Sorry to hear about the blight, I think conditions were just right for it this year. I'm really hoping that I manage to harvest some beans, I can't believe how different this year has been to last.

    I've removed lots of leaves too, Martyn. I'm hoping that the sunshine we're having this week will allow the tomatoes to ripen.

    Try telling my face that the sun isn't warm, Mark. I came home from Bridlington on Monday looking like a belisha beacon. If the tomatoes don't ripen soon I'll have to resort to bringing them indoors.

    It is exciting digging for potatoes, Liz. You never know what you're going to find underneath the soil.

    My potatoes have never done particularly well in the ground, Wellywoman, that's why I'm growing them in containers this year. It gives a much cleaner harvest. I haven't put any bananas in the greenhouse, but I'll put some with the tomatoes if I decide to bring them indoors.

    The tomatoes are still outside at the moment, Pomona. I'm hoping that the sunshine will get them to ripen but if not, I'll have to resort to the windowsill.

    September's started off well, Tanya, I hope the sunshine continues throughout the month. I definitely think my corn has had it again this year, the cobs don't seem to be filling up at all.

  13. I've had very small potatoes this year from my grow bags but they're tasty and will be eaten all the same. I would think Sept will be time enough to turn the tomatoes red? I still have lots of green tomatoes as well.

  14. Some of my potatoes have been huge, Kelli. In fact, I've just harvested some which I'm going to use as bakers as they're so big.

  15. A veritable potato bonanza there. Name noted for future reference Jo. I grew 'Anya' this year - on the small side but plenty of them as well as 'Lady Crystl' - most disappointing yield but I'm putting it down to the weather :)

  16. I'm putting all my failures down to the weather this year, Anna, it's caused havoc. I don't mind small potatoes, providing there's plenty of them.


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