Now Picking: First Spuds of the Year

It’s always a bit of a gamble, with bag-grown spuds: when exactly is the best time to attempt a harvest? Main-crops are a bit easier, you can usually wait until the foliage has died back – usually at the end of Summer, going into Autumn – and then get them out of the ground before the weather turns too wet or the slugs get too adventurous.

But if, like me, you’ve been growing spuds in old compost bags, and you ideally want to harvest them at the salad-sized new potato stage, then knowing when to trim the stems and empty out the bag is a fair bit trickier. Because once you’ve taken that step, there’s no turning back. And if the spuds ain’t formed yet, then you’ve wasted a whole bag’s worth of effort.

Last weekend I braced myself and took a gamble on the first of three bags of Charlotte potatoes. I’m very happy to say I struck gold:

New Potatoes, July 2013

Not a huge haul, but enough for four portions. Steamed and served with butter and a sprinkling of sea salt, they were delicious. Nutty, spuddy and very, very creamy indeed. You really can’t get anywhere near as good in the supermarkets and it drives home the point of the whole GYO, back yard kitchen garden endeavour: enjoying some of the freshest best-tasting food you can possibly get your hands on.

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