Potato Day 2012 – Ryton Gardens

Another year begins for me with Potato Day. It was a lovely day, not as cold as I thought it could be. It was not as busy as previous years, but were lucky to get a spot in the main car park.

We made a bee-line for the potato marquee, in a different place from previous years. We went round selecting many different potatoes, coming with strong shopping bags to carry these heavy things. 20p a tuber, and we came out with 94! We should have enough space for them all down the allotment! List of varieties can be found on a separate page.

I also took some seeds in to swap. In hindsight, I now know the names of a couple of the saved seeds grown from HSL seed are – Coco Bicolor and Czechoslovakian. I’ll have to remember to take photos of the bean seeds for easier identification in the future! I also picked up the HSL seed order (saves on postage and packaging) and got all first choices.  The HSL seeds I picked up from the order or swapped for are :

Tomatoes:- Yellow Russian, Veepro Paste, Orange Heart, Wild Tomato Columbianum, Queen of Hearts

Climbing French Beans:- Turkey Craw, Kew Blue

Dwarf French Beans:- Yugoslav II

Pea:- Purple Flowered Russian

Turnip:- Kaskinuris

Carrot:- Manchester Table, Scarlet Horn

Squash:- Maltese Marrow

Multiplier Onions:- I can’t read my writing for the variety

Also bought some garlic (Pink, Elephant, Picardy Wight, Solent Wight), onion sets (Rumba, wanted to get Red Karmen but they had almost all gone),  broad beans (Witkiem -went a bit overboard, over 200 seeds, oops!), peas (Rondo), Phacelia, and a purple cauliflower from Franchi.

There is a seedlist in a separate page. We haven’t ordered any seeds for this season yet, other than chillis (a present for my mother!) but these aren’t on the list.


Potato Day

We went to Potato Day last Saturday at Ryton Gardens, headquarters of Garden Organic. We came away with many different seed potatoes, some varieties we’ve not grown before. Should be an interesting year then. Shall be putting a page up shortly.
We also went on a tour of the Heritage Seed Library. We enjoyed the talk given by a member of staff and learnt a lot. We also picked up our HSL seed order (dropping it off there too…). Luckily, we got all our first choices as well.
We should visit Ryton again in the growing season. The weather wasn’t too bad, but there wasn’t that much to see. We went there in May and September in 2004! and Pumpkin day in October 2005 (there was an apple tree with blossom!!).

Ryton’s Potato Day

Just returned from Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens where they held members’ Potato Day for 2010. Bought 100 seed potatoes (well, we were going to get 98 but my son wanted to make it a nice number so he chose a further 2 seed potatoes). Also took some seeds for the seed swap.

Today’s haul:

First Earlies – Accent, Foremost, Rubis, Sharpes Express, Ulster Sceptre, Winston

Second Earlies – Bintje, British Queen, Catriona, Edzell Blue, Kestrel, Yukon Gold

Maincrop – Dunbar Rover, Mayan Gold, Picasso, Rudolph

Late Maincrop – Arran Victory, Blue Danube, Fortyfold

Peas – Feltham First, Progress, Stephens’, Salmon Flowered

Broad Beans – Bunyards Exhibition, Witkiem Manita

Climbing French Beans – Selma Zelma

Shallots – Minogue, Mr. Stiff’s, Onion White, Yellow Moon

Onion – Batun, Rossa Savonese, and Red Baron (sets)

Garlic – Thermidrome

Lettuce – Bronze Arrow

Squash – Zapallito

Beetroot – Bull’s Blood


I also met some people from Allotments 4 All community, which was nice.

Earlier this week, I was able to visit the allotment. I wanted to take a few pictures at the start of the year! Unfortunately, most of the leeks that weren’t already harvested were soft (frozen and then defrosted?) – perhaps they were an early or autumn variety.
Better news, I harvested the central head of purple sprouting broccoli, and a small romanesco cauliflower, plus a few leeks that survived the freeze.
Autumn planted onions, shallots and garlic have sprouted.

Weather here has been cold, and snow settled for a couple of weeks. Then, it thawed. Now, there has been a small sprinkling. I am looking forward to spring! Though perhaps the cold weather will kill off a number of pests & diseases.

Potato Day update

Yesterday was members’ Day at Ryton Gardens, the GardenOrganic headquarters.  It was a beautiful day, not too chilly. 

This year, we got there before 11am, unlike last year when we were early and had to queue to get in. The entrance to the gardens was through the Vegetable Kingdom (my son’s favourite area, and he wasn’t as happy as usual as he couldn’t access all the exhibits there – he did answer yes when I asked him if he enjoyed himself). The potato tent was arranged differently from normal – the first earlies were at the entrance, but there rest were ordered alphabetically apart from the salads and Sarpo spuds which where at the back of the tent. There was a huge huge queue for the tills. The queue blocked easy access to Alan Romans’ stand of mint disease free tubers and his seeds. 

As for the varieties, there were plenty but some sold out very quickly (I overheard someone saying that Pink Fir Apple had sold out, this was one of the ones we really wanted), and some varieties didn’t come down on the lorry and were not available (Charlotte was one of these). One of the messageboards had comments that Picasso was rare – I managed to get Picasso and there were some still there at lunch time. Some of the labels said the wrong type of potato (one was down as a First Early, yet Alan Romans’ guide says Early Maincrop). So, I will be putting up a separate page soon of the seed spuds I have acquired for this season. 

There were other tents, one for the seed swap event run by HSL along side paper pot making. I remembered for the second time in a row to bring along seeds to swap. OH wondered what happened to his seakale – I swapped them last year and I was able to swap back this year! One pea that someone had swapped simply said, Pea Unusual!

OH was in charge of acquiring peas (Progress No 9, Greenshaft, Kelvedon Wonder), beans (Bunyards Exhibition), onions (Hercules) and garlic, which I supplemented with more onions (Centurion) & shallots (Picasso). I had already bought some shallots Yellow Moon & Topper, and garlic Marco at a garden centre last week.

We will have to visit Ryton during summer to see the gardens in all their glory.

Happy 2009

Haven’t really looked at the seeds this year. Haven’t done any planning either. Soon, it will be Potato Day at Ryton, so we’ll go there to buy seed potatoes (and perhaps top-up on more seeds!), though I already have bought Sarpo Mira seed potatoes at the end of last year from a garden centre (other varieties were on the shelves before Christmas, but Sarpo and some others arrived afterwards), as well as a couple more packets of seeds. Last year, we missed out on the Sarpo at Potato Day. 

Have ordered and received the HSL seeds –  got all first choices: tomato Bijskij Zeltyi; tomato Snow White Cherry; Swede Gul Svensk; pea Robinson; dwarf french bean Jersey Bean; dwarf french bean Yugoslavian Black Bean; and a lucky dip – climbing french bean Bridgwater Bean. My mother will look after some tomatoes for me and she wanted one that isn’t easy to say!

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