@JimmyDoherty needs Sarpo Spuds

Jimmy's Grow Your Own Christmas Dinner (ch4 Fri. night) had a blight problem with Arran Victory. The point of the programme was to show that home-raised Christmas dinner  food tastes better than supermarket fare. Jimmy showed us his Victories being stored in a traditional potato clamp in his garden.

When he came to dig them up from the clamp, many (most?) were sprouted. Arran Victory, despite many good qualities, often sprouts shortly after harvesting.  It has a short dormancy.  But worse than that, about half of the poor Victories were rotted.

Now Jimmy blamed his clamp and thought dampness was to blame.  Much more likely is that his plants got blighted in August/September just before harvest. Most heritage varieties are very susceptible to blight and to get a decent harvest you have to spray them with highly toxic copper.

Jimmy will remember filming "Jimmy's farming heroes' for BBC2 a few years back.  He filmed organic farmer Roy Lyttle from near Belfast who  grows Sarpo varieties that have high resistance to blight. He also filmed yours truly from SRT who explained how they were selected and the advantages of growing these spuds.

Jimmy would have found that If Jimmy had grown Sarpos, he could have stored them in a clamp for at least six months without rots because of their long natural dormancy and tuber-blight resistance. He would also have found that our Sarpos make an excellent roast potato. And Jimmy knows they make excellent chips too - remember the Belfast chipper on TV giving them the thumbs up?

Jamie (un-naked) tasted the AV roasties but obviously did not like them.  AVs do taste good so I put this down to Jimmy overboiling them to the mushy stage and keeping them in a dish with a lid.  They could not have crisped up.

Jimmy, grow Sarpo 'Axona' or Blue Danube next year to make trouble free roasties.  And remember, to grow heritage spuds, you need to spray regularly with copper and YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT. Otherwise, it is a lottery you might not win ;-(