We like to try new varieties of garden staples here at STF, and this year potatoes are on the experiment list. Rose Finn Apple fingerlings, Maris Piper heirloom from Britain, and a new favorite, Sieglinde. These are listed as a main crop variety, but the vines on ours seemed to die back early, and some of the spuds were big enough to have a little hollow heart. We planted this year’s potatoes in the old hen yard, where we grew corn last year after letting the hens do some fertilizing. Before that, Stella, Doug and Buddy did some fertilizing, and also compacted the ground a bit. Maybe not the perfect soil for potatoes, but not terrible.
The picture above is the harvest from one hill, an egg-sized seed potato planted in April. Sieglinde potatoes are an heirloom variety from Germany, only recently available in the US. They have thin yellow skins and dense yellow flesh. So far we’ve only had them steamed and in chicken-vegetable soup, and they are tasty. Our next taste test will be potato salad, and they will most likely be exceptional.
They aren’t supposed to be an early variety, but ours matured by mid-July. In the PNW, early August often means a warm rainy spell, which activates the blight spores and signals serious trouble for maters and taters. If Sieglindes are consistently early, this means we can get a crop in well beofre the blight hits later varieties. We still don’t know how well they store though, and the early die-back of the vines caused some loss to greening before we realized what was up. We planted 5# of Sieglinde seed, roughly 50ft, and got over 100# of useable potatoes, well before the blight. We will definitely grow these again. Potato Garden carries this variety, as well as the others we’re growing this year. They also have a good garlic selection.