Even though we had been to Evesham the night before to a family party and didn’t get home ’til 1am, I woke up excited to be going to the ‘Potato Day’ with Sue.
She had text me to say she was putting on her potato picking clothes, so taking her at face value, I pulled on my old but comfy jeans and fleece with scarf, tiny dusting of makeup and waited for her to arrive. She did, with skirt, boots, smart jacket, fluffy scarf and hair done! Looking a picture – the most glamorous potato picker I had ever seen!
Paying our money and filling in the tax relief form we made our way into the gardens. I had last been round the gardens years ago when my girls were small. Then, it was a lovely hot sunny day, all needing sun hats. In stark contrast, today was icy cold with the gardens neat before the plants start to venture from the ground.
We first went into the seed swapping room – it sounded intriguing. Sue made a bee line for the composting section whilst I caught the eye of a truly lovely lady called Maureen who was an employee of Leicester County Council, helping there for the day.
She told me about some beans she has grown that she had been given and how thrilled she had been with them. She said they grown really tall and you can eat the pods or the beans in stews and they were lovely. I had to buy some, with Mel in my mind saying ‘don’t buy a whole packet’ and bought enough for me and Sue to share. They were called ‘Coco Bicolour’. I found this picture on a blog called daughter of the soil.
From there we made our way to a specially built marquee just for the potatoes. As we entered we were greeted by two ladies who lit up the place with their smiles. They represented a company selling Copper gardening tools. Now I think I could talk to you all day about these tools. What they had to say about them needs some time and detail.
I told them about my blog and Access Garden Products. They knew all about Access. They are usually next to them at the Westminster Halls Garden show in London. These tools are truly amazing, shame my birthday is some way off, essential tools for my garden.
We said goodbye to them with a promise to purchase some tools from them. Then – stood bewildered at the hundreds of boxes of potatoes.
We didn’t know where to start. There were earlies, mains and lates. Still not much clearer, we started to ask what we thought were sensible novice questions, do we plant them at different times? What type of diseases do we need to be aware of? Nothing earth shattering.
One man I asked looked at me as if I was about 1” tall and said if I was a newcomer to potatoes to go over there to buy Sante as they were easy to grow the rest of what he said is a blur, he had already put me off him. Sue called him condescending – which just about summed him up. Another man near the Sante potatoes looked much kinder and came over to chat to us and really helped us. Why do some people speak in such a way to make that can make you feel stupid and useless? Whilst others with a kind smile and a few encouraging words can make all the difference to how you feel.
So, together we bought 4 Rocket earlies (thank you Kate), 4 Sante main crop potatoes because they are very productive and don’t catch diseases easily, and 6 Pink Fir Apple late potatoes that crop in September but are pink and knobbly and I like the look of them.
By this time, we both felt we had been given so much information we needed a cuppa and lunch. Time to digest all the things we had seen.
The highlight of the day was meeting Maureen, who was so enthusiastic about gardening and the ladies selling the copper tools. And, of course choosing our potatoes to ‘chit’ in their egg boxes.
Have you heard of ‘Bokashi’? This is something else Maureen shared with me. I’ll read up on this and tell you about it next time.
Let me know what potato you got?